Mountain View Farm is a fourth-generation dairy farm, milking 2,500 cows with a beautiful view of the Rocky Mountains.
Years ago, when Mountain View Farm was first built, it had all the bells and whistles you could imagine: meters, ID system, parlor performance, sort gates and DairyCOMP305 (DC305).
As the years passed, it became tougher to be a dairy farmer. The cost of maintaining and repairing all the bells and whistles became too much. My dad and I made the decision to tear out the meters and remove the ID system and sort gates.
We met with our employees and talked to them about not relying on the computer – and instead to get out and really look at the cows.
We did, however, keep DC305, which is one of the most important pieces of technology we have on the dairy. DC305 really helps us keep track of all our cattle at multiple locations and provides us with more reports then we could ever use.
A couple of years ago, we added the RFID system, which has made cattle record-keeping more efficient. Even though my employees initially had reservations, they love it now and appreciate it, especially in bad weather when it makes it much faster and more efficient than reading each individual ear tag by sight.
We also use EZfeed® for our feed computer, which helps us track feed inventory, feeder efficiency, feed contracts, feed deviations and multiple reports for our nutritionist.
Smartphones are a love/hate for me, but I use my phone all the time. I can be out in the pens and send an email, check corn and milk prices, bank online and access protocols.
I also use my smartphone to take a lot of pictures and videos which I post on our Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest accounts. Showing the consumers what we all do for a living is one of the most valuable things I do with my phone.
If I didn’t have the capacity to use my phone in this way, I would likely not share my farm with consumers as I should. I admit – I do sometimes miss the days when you were out with the cows and nobody could find you!
Technology is always changing and I cannot wait to see what the next “big” thing is going to be to help us improve our dairy and help us take even better care of our cows.