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Cool stuff we saw at World Dairy Expo 2021

Published on 06 October 2021
world dairy expo 2021

It’s become a tradition for the Progressive Dairy team to scope out new products, ideas and innovations to share with readers following World Dairy Expo in Madison, Wisconsin. The 2021 show, with the theme of “Instrumental to the Industry,” had plenty to offer.

Progressive Dairy editors Walt Cooley, Karen Lee, Peggy Coffeen, Dave Natzke, Jenna Hurty-Person, Audrey Schmitz and Matti Leak provided their observations about “cool stuff” that caught their attention at the show.

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World Dairy Expo is back

After canceling in 2020 during the coronavirus pandemic, it was great to be back in Madison to connect with the industry and see elite cattle walk the colored shavings once again. Regular event attendees would have noticed some changes from years past, but all in all the atmosphere on the grounds was joy and excitement to have this event back in action.

PHOTO: Cows graced the colored shavings against a stunning backdrop for this year’s theme of “Instrumental to the Industry.” Photo by Karen Lee.

Submitted by Progressive Dairy Editor Karen Lee

Double-button surface for improved traction

Agri-Comfort showcased their new double-button rubber flooring surface designed for better traction and slip resistance. Available in both interlocking mats and as the Legacy Slat Rubber flooring, the flooring also offers better cushion for animals, improved drainage and flexibility for absorbing heavy foot concussion. Thanks to these features, this flooring can lead to fewer injuries, better heat detection and increased cow longevity and milk production.

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The slat floor system also features the company’s patented All-Rubber Fastener System. The fasteners are a reverse barb wedge to keep the mat securely in place. Using an all-rubber system protects animals’ hooves and prevents the highest number of injuries compared to systems that use metal or plastic in their fasteners.

Submitted by Progressive Dairy Editor Jenna Hurty

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PeopleCor makes managing employees easier

With many dairies facing labor challenges, it is more important now than ever before to show employees appreciation. Also top-of-mind are effectively tracking performance and compliance. The new PeopleCor employee management tool created by The Dairy Coach Tom Wall allows dairy managers to access important dates such as work anniversaries or check an employee’s vacation time – all from the quick convenience of their smartphone. Having this information in the palm of their hand makes it easy for managers to respond to questions and provide feedback that boosts employee morale and, ultimately, loyalty without the delay of digging through drawers and files to find answers.

As part of this app-based tool, dairies have access to The Smart Clock. This time-tracking function allows employees to punch in and out of shifts and sends automatic alerts, with the purpose of preventing costly time theft.

Learn more about PeopleCor and The Smart Clock on the website.

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PHOTO: The Dairy Coach Tom Wall introduced PeopleCor, a tool to make employee management easier and ultimately improve satisfaction, morale and loyalty. Photo by Peggy Coffeen.

—Submitted by Progressive Dairy Editor Peggy Coffeen 

Companies release calf hutches with better ventilation and pair housing options

In an effort to better meet producer needs, Calf-Tel and Agri-Plastics added more ventilation options to their hutches for better heat abatement in the summer and improved calf welfare. The addition of these vents should reduce or eliminate the need for temporary ventilation fixes, such as adding a brick under the back of the calf hutch.

Calf-Tel

The company has designed the “Mega Vent Door,” which can be flipped down during the summer for improved air flow and closed up in the winter to help calves stay cozy and warm. The vent has an optional rear wire closure to help keep the calf safely in the hutch. In addition, three vents can be added to the bottom of the hutch for better air flow at the ground level.

For those wishing to pair-house calves, the company’s Elite Pair Fencing system can help make that easier. The fence system attaches to the company’s 24/74 and 35/85 hutches, locking the two hutches together. The fence system also has a center divider which can be flipped down to keep the calves separate and flipped up when the farm is ready for the calves to be together. For easy cleaning, the hutches can be flipped into the pens and vice versa.

Agri-Plastics

In addition to the bottom air flow vents that come standard on all of their hutches, the company has added two optional top vents to their group and pair housing hutch options. The company is offering two new pair housing hutch models, the Dual XL Hutch and the Buddy Hutch. The Dual XL Hutch is similar to the traditional hutch but larger to comfortably house two calves until 8 weeks old. The Buddy Hutch is essentially the company’s group hutch, but it includes a removable panel in the center of it so farms can house the calves separately or together. This hutch houses calves up to 14 weeks old and features a multipositional awning and optional weather cover extension to shade the calves and help product them from inclement weather.

—Submitted by Progressive Dairy Editor Jenna Hurty

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The Fodd

Making its World Dairy Expo debut, the Fodd is a mechanical silage separation technology to provide a low-cost fodder alternative using a common feedstuff. “It works by separating corn silage into two streams, adding value to both streams,” developer Greg Friendshuh said.

The separator sorts by size to yield a large-particulate fodder and fine particles with grain.

The fodder can replace straw and hay in dry cow and youngstock diets at about a quarter of the cost compared to purchased straw. The silage has higher palatability, which reduces sorting and increases dry matter intake by 5 pounds per cow.

Lactating cows fed the higher energy and lower fiber fines had increased dry matter intake and milk production.

By replacing straw and hay in dry cow and heifer rations and corn silage and corn grain in lactating cow diets, Friendshuh estimates a feed cost savings of $150 per lactating cow per year.

More information can be found at the Fodd website.

PHOTO: Separating corn silage into large-particulate fodder and fines generates feed ingredients to better suit the needs of all animals on a dairy. Photo courtesy of Glori Enterprises LLC.

Submitted by Progressive Dairy Editor Karen Lee

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Hugs calf jacket

FutureCow had a new calf jacket on display that featured a patented neck warmer. Sean Howells, general manager of FutureCow, said the fleece extension “reduces susceptibility to cold and respiratory infections.”

In addition, calves that wore the jacket with the extension gained an extra half-pound per day in the first two weeks of use.

The jacket is machine washable with a Velcro strap to secure it around the neck. They are available in three different sizes – small, medium and large. Go to the FutureCow website to purchase or for more information.

PHOTO: A new jacket with fleece neck extension minimizes heat loss from a vulnerable part of the calf. Photo by Karen Lee.

Submitted by Progressive Dairy Editor Karen Lee

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Sureshot by Pharm Robotics

A robotic arm already used in automotive production lines has been designed to administer vaccines or reproductive products as cows exit the milking barn. In the exit lane, cows can be scanned by an RFID and camera ID reader to determine if a cow needs an injection. If a cow requires a shot, the gates at the injection site will close and a two-part bumper restraint will press up against the cow’s body to restrict any movement. The cow will then be scanned by a second RFID to determine what kind of injection the cow needs. The robotic arm will then position itself to deliver the injection in the cow’s neck. Pharmaceuticals travel from a cooling unit placed next to the robotic arm and flow to the end of the arm in precise doses monitored by peristaltic pumps and sensors.

Once injected, the two-part bumper restraint will release and the gates will open, allowing for the cow to continue down the exit lane. The injection will then be automatically recorded in the dairy management software and linked to each individual cow through their RFID tag. The dairy farmer will then be able to see instantaneously on their computer the record of each individual cow’s health history.

On dairy farms using timed A.I., employees administer 15,000 to 18,000 shots per cow per year. The cost of labor to administer shots and the average inaccuracy of shot protocols can cost a farm up to $285 per cow per year. The estimated ROI of this new technology is one to three years.

Watch a video about SureShot at YouTube.

PHOTO: A robotic technology borrowed from the automotive industry, SureShot can administer shots as cows leave the parlor. Courtesy photo.

Submitted by Progressive Dairy Editor Audrey Schmitz

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SmaXtec

The deeper the insights, the earlier you could notice changes in your cows’ health status. SmaXtec’s bolus measures inner body temperature, rumination time, cow activity and drinking behavior directly in the reticulum. The collected data is automatically transferred to the smaXtec cloud, where it is supplemented with artificial intelligence-supported evaluations.

As soon as the cow’s immune system reacts to pathogens or stress, the inner body temperature changes – long before external signs become visible. If inner body temperature rises, it is an indication of a feverish condition, infection or inflammation. A drop in temperature, on the other hand, is an indication of a metabolic disease such as milk fever or ketosis. In addition, continuous measurement of rumination allows producers to draw even more precise conclusions about the disease and its severity. Measuring drinking behavior and activity also helps detect issues such as lameness at a very early stage.

Additionally, when using the bolus monitoring technology, producers receive precise and automatic heat detection as well as earliest possible calving detection.

PHOTO: This ruminal device captures individual cow data internally and transfers it to a cloud-based system for health and heat monitoring. Photo by Audrey Schmitz.

Submitted by Progressive Dairy Editor Audrey Schmitz

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Flex V2 monitoring eartag by Allflex

New eartag technology featuring a light-emitting diode (LED) indicator allows dairy managers, staff and veterinarians to quickly identify specific animals at a glance – even in a large group – minimizing disruptions and saving time and labor involved in searching for target cows by their identification numbers. Different LED light patterns indicate individual cow needs. For example, a slowly blinking light could indicate a cow is ready to be bred, and a tag that is blinking fast could indicate she may need an animal health intervention. This technology allows producers to single out the cows that need attention faster and speed up herd health checks overall.

PHOTO: This eartag with an LED light can help with herd health management. Photo by Audrey Schmitz.

Submitted by Progressive Dairy Editor Audrey Schmitz

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Let cows soak themselves on demand

Dairies can increase production and save water with a new technology from AgPro. The company introduced a new motion-activated cow sprinkler called SmartSoaker at World Dairy Expo. The device sits above the headlock to control when cow misting occurs and activates when a cow sticks her head through the headlock to access feed. Dairies can control the length of misting and the interval between misting episodes. "This technology allows individual cows to be more in control of their cooling regimen and brings all the benefits of soaking to dairies that were previously limited by water supply or waste system limitations," says engineer David Gribble of AgPro. Data collected from the units is aggregated on an app to show dairies their pen-level and total water usage. The company recommends installing one unit for every two cows in a pen.

PHOTO: A new motion-activated cow sprinkler can help dairies save water and better track the water they use for cow cooling. Photo courtesy of AgPro.

Submitted by Progressive Dairy Editor Walt Cooley

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New LED lighting better illuminates parlor work area

Even with the best overhead parlor lighting, there are bound to be shadows and dimly lit areas in any parlor. Under Udder LED lighting launched its new tube-system LED lights that can be installed to better illuminate the parlor deck and milkers’ work space. The lights aid workers in properly prepping udders for milking and in more quickly attaching units. Another of the benefits of the lighting that has been observed from early installs is increased parlor throughput. Bob West, a representative for Under Udder, says that cows don’t like to walk through shadowy areas. Once the lighting is installed, dairies have seen cows more comfortable and more quickly loading into the parlor for milking. The system can be installed in parallel, herringbone, rotary parlors and even in most milking robots.

PHOTO: A new tube system of LED lights when installed helps to better illuminate the parlor deck and milkers’ workspace. Photo by Walt Cooley.

Submitted by Progressive Dairy Editor Walt Cooley 

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Kill pathogens with a new footwear disinfecting station

Maybe it was because of all the COVID-19-related precautions at the show which had my mind thinking about biosecurity, but a shoe disinfecting station from BioSec caught my attention. The station uses UV lighting plus ozone to disinfect pathogens on the bottom of footwear in just eight seconds. The user stands on a plate of semi-permeable glass that is a half-inch thick. The UV lights under the glass, in combination with the ozone which can seep through the glass, act together to kill pathogens. I knew, of course, that UV lighting was a disinfectant, but I learned that the addition of the ozone accelerates its disinfecting capability. The innovation has been used in hospital settings, but the company has dairies already using them for employees entering and exiting parlors and youngstock facilities.

PHOTO: This footwear disinfecting station for parlors or youngstock facilities can kill pathogens in eight seconds. Photo by Walt Cooley.

Submitted by Progressive Dairy Editor Walt Cooley

Single-use tube feeder

Golden Calf Company has released a single-use tube feeder that can be used with their colostrum bags. Designed to eliminate wash chemicals, minimize water usage, save time and labor, the plastic tube has a leak-proof seal and decreases the chance for cross contamination among calves.

You can learn more about this product at the Golden Calf Company websiteend mark 

Submitted by Progressive Dairy Editorial Intern Matti Leak

COVER PHOTO: The globe, flags flying and people eating grilled cheese sandwiches were familiar sights for World Dairy Expo. Photo by Karen Lee.

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