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Cool stuff we saw at World Ag Expo 2014

Progressive Dairyman staff Published on 28 February 2014

world ag expo forge fx simulator

Editors visited multiple vendors to look at new products available to dairy producers during World Ag Expo 2014 in Tulare, California. Here are their reviews of some that caught their attention.

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Virtual training simulators
Could the future of dairy worker training be virtual?

Forge FX Simulators provide the experience of real-world training through simulated technology.

These three-dimensional training tools have found their application in fields such as aerospace, construction and mining, where heavy equipment is often used. Virtual training offers the advantage of teaching and training on large-scale equipment without the cost of machinery or property damage, and without the associated risk of injury. Simulators also make off-site training possible.

Today’s dairies require large-scale machinery and implements to get work done. Along with that, comes the growing responsibility and liability of the dairy producer to assure safety. A specific dairy application has not been developed by Forge FX Simulators at this point, but perhaps someday we may see dairy workers learning how to operate equipment virtually.

—Editor Peggy Coffeen

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Real-time Milk Classification Service
AfiMilk’s new Milk Classification Service (MSC) separates milk with the best cheese-production potential as it comes out of the cow.

AfiMilk MCS analyzes each pulse of milk in real time, measuring fat, protein, lactose and coagulation properties. Then, the milk meter diverts and channels milk to designated bulk tanks on the farm based on the coagulation properties and other criteria.

world ag expo afimilk milk classification service

This sophisticated technology has potential applications on dairies with onsite milk processing facilities that may wish to segregate their milk based on its cheese yield. For dairies marketing their milk, it may also offer advantages to capitalize on higher premiums for components.

—Editor Peggy Coffeen

Printing your needs down to size
In the technological world, everything has gotten smaller these days. There are reasons for that, of course: For one, it often makes technology more convenient to use. And if it’s convenient, workers who use it can be more efficient.

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world ag expo brecknell thermal printer

Enter the Brecknell Thermal Printer. No need to run data back to your home computer for printouts, this gadget – small enough o fit in the palm of your hand – can easily go with you in the pickup or on the tractor. It is 12-volt DC or A/C ready and includes such features as Windows Driver, POS compatible and has time and date standard and customized logo affixation.

—Editor Andrew Weeks

Dairy management goes web-based
I got a brief overview of what one company claims is the "first web-based dairy business management software."

Farmeron introduced their software to the market last fall. Company founder Matija Kopic told me that since then he's had more interest than the start-up company can keep up with.

farmeron world ag expo

The software had super-powerful, easy-to-use and very granular filters. In the era of "Big Data," the software could definitely unlock a lot of information collected on a dairy.

I'm most interested to see if this company's entrance into the marketplace will shake out more web-based data management options from the more traditional dairy software companies, who obviously still control nearly all of the market share in this category.

—Editor Walt Cooley

Posilac celebrates 20 years
During WAE, Elanco invited members of the media to a special breakfast that kicked off Posilac’s 20-year anniversary.

Over the last two decades, an estimated 37 million dairy cows have been supplemented with Posilac, the dairy industry’s first biotechnology product, as pointed out by Dr. Dennis Schaffler, Elanco Animal Health, senior director, U.S. dairy operations.

According to Elanco, six cows supplemented with Posilac produce the same amount of milk as seven cows without it. Elanco is taking this message a step further, translating that increase in production per cow to greater sustainability efforts such as reduced needs for land, water and feed.

Part of communicating these points to the general public is Elanco’s ENOUGH report. Roger Cady, Ph.D., senior technical advisor and global sustainability lead for the company, discussed the global picture of milk demand and how technology will be a part of fulfilling a worldwide thirst for milk.

Dairy producer Jeff Wilbur, part of Rio Blanco Dairy and The Mayflower Companies, also tookt he stage. An early adopter of Posilac, he said the supplement has been a “steady part” of his management program since the beginning, and it will continue to be going forward.

Looking ahead, Schaffler proclaimed an optimistic future for Posilac and its contribution to growing global dairy demand. While the United States remains the strongest market for the supplement, the majority of countries in Latin America have approved its use, as well as other emerging and expanding areas like South Africa.

“I think we are facing a decade of demand over the next ten years where we are going to see tremendous growth for the dairy industry,” he said.

Schaffler led a toast with raised glasses of fresh California milk to commemorate the celebration.

—Editor Peggy Coffeen

Flies really suck, thanks to the Cow Vac
I’ve always liked mechanics, robots and to see how things work. That’s why I was intrigued when I saw Spalding’s Cow Vac, a neat contraption that gives relief to cows.

It resembles a security check station like you’d find at any airport, but instead of detecting metal objects it sucks up the bothersome flies that attach themselves to cattle. Though it does make noise when turned on, animals generally become accustomed to it after using the machine a time or two. “Within a few days cows learn they feel a lot better … so even the spookiest cows accept it quickly,” reads a brochure on the item.

world ag expo cow vac for flies

It’s simple enough to use: cows walk through the vac; pressure ducts blow flies off the animal while vacuum ducts suck up the flies; the side vacuum collects flies from the flank, shoulder and belly; the top and side ducts collect horn flies off the back and sides of the cow. Flies are gathered in a net, said company rep Sonny Graves, which is easily removed for disposal.

I don’t like flies. Neither do cows. But I’m sure they’ll like the Cow Vac.

—Editor Andrew Weeks

New water valve welcomed in U.S. market
You may have heard of Apex Valves, but have you heard about the Xcess Full Flow valve? The full-flow design makes for the fast filling of large troughs. Camlock compatible outlet allows for convenient water supply for many jobs around the farm.

This valve allows for the attachment of a hose for quick rinsing of equipment, filling spray tanks or other water needs. It has the additional benefits of being serviced without tools and without removing the arm.

Mark Gracie, business development manager, said while the company is New Zealand-based, the new valve is being welcomed with open arms in many U.S. markets. PD

—Editor Andrew Weeks

PHOTOS
PHOTO 1: The future of dairy worker training could be virtual. Forge FX Simulators provide training in various large equipment fields, such as mining. Photo by Peggy Coffeen.

PHOTO 2: The AfiMilk Milk Classification System (MCS) differentiates milk as it comes from the cow, diverting that with higher cheese-yielding potential to a separate line and tank. Photo by Peggy Coffeen.

PHOTO 3: Brecknell’s new thermal printer is small enough to hold in your hands, making for easy transport around the farm. Photo by Andrew Weeks.

PHOTO 4: Farmeron's founder Matija Kopic said that since he launched his new web-based dairy business management software he's had more interest than he can keep up with. Photo by Walt Cooley.

PHOTO 5: The Cow Vac on display during World Ag Expo in Tulare, California. Photo by Andrew Weeks.

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