Neil Baker looks for answers at Dairy Event

The past month was a hard one and the jobs list is bigger than ever, but my family (mostly my sons Tim and Jamie) have helped me through. A question I have been looking at this month, and one we all seek an answer to, is how can we improve profit without increasing costs?

This was my big question to answer when setting off for this year’s Dairy Event and Livestock Show. Unfortunately, day one consisted of not a lot of research, but a large amount of “business relationship development”. I thought this year’s event was a great showcase for the dairy industry – how we 13,000 dairy farmers keep it all afloat I’m not quite sure.

Day two was focused on how we’re going to improve parlour flow. I’m thinking of improving the exit off the deck. To do this I need to move my segregation area away from the parlour, so I need an auto-segregation gate, but I’m not keen on too much technology at this point in time. I am however thinking of linking it all up with auto ID in the future. I was thinking of a simple system of only marking the cows that I want selected. Then by chance I found a company that had exactly what I was thinking about on their stand, which was one thing off my list.

Just improving the exit will not be the big pay-off – the more accurate sorting of cows increases compliance with the breeding of the herd and getting group changes done more simply would make life easier on the cows and staff. One thing I didn’t think I’d consider was robotic feed push-up, but when I did the maths I realised you don’t need any more milk to pay for it – just the labour saving means you get your money back in five years, plus there must be dry matter intake benefits.

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