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Barns & Equipment

Whether using a tiestall, freestall, dry lot or pasture, here are some tips for cow comfort and maintaining farm facilities and equipment.

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Editor’s note: This article is the second in a four-part series about how an Oregon dairy farmer is making robots work on a grazing system. Read the first story "How we milk 3 times a day with robots for success".

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Situation No. 1

Like most farmers, you keep old equipment around since it still has some useful life left in it. You applied this mindset last year when you bought your wife a new SUV and kept her old one with 300,000 miles on it as a “spare.”

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Bunching of animals is a common problem on dairy farms during summer months. Cows in freestall barns sometimes congregate together in one part of the barn, with ample free space not being utilized.

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Spring is here, and it is time to start thinking about equipment and crops. When it comes to alfalfa fields, what is the plan for harvest for each cutting?

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For years, we’ve seen an emphasis on genetics for things like pounds of milk and butterfat in the dairy industry, and low birthweight, high rate of gain and marbling in the beef industry.

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Automated milking systems are trending upwards in the U.S., and there is an increasing interest from large dairies to adopt this technology. Recently, our group got a competitive grant funded by the California Dairy Research Foundation that aims to describe the opportunities and challenges associated with the implementation of automated milking systems in large dairy herds across the U.S. This project is a collaboration between University of California – Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources, and the University of Minnesota.

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