You guys thought this blog was just about beef, didn’t you?! Since June is dairy month, I figured I’d switch things up a little bit and throw some love to our dairy friends. After all, dairy cows become beef too (hellooo, In-N-Out!).
I started my career in animal health sales about 7 years ago and in the latter 1/3 of that time I landed at MWI Veterinary Supply, the company I fondly refer to as “home”. Throughout these seven years, I’ve had the opportunity to interact with a large percentage of the dairy farms in the Western United States. If there’s one thing I have learned it’s that dairying is not an easy job. With some of the toughest regulations in the country right here in the Golden State, it takes a special type to be successful.
In response to these regulations, dairymen have adapted over the years and become far more resilient. The use of technology has become a significant driver in their success. Some of the current tools available include: EID ear tags, used mostly for identification but also work in conjunction with things like daily milk weights and activity monitoring. There are feed management technologies such as: FeedWatch, Easy Feed, and Read-N-Feed plus numerous smartphone apps for tracking cows, heat activity and even robotic milking (Lely, DeLaval)! Like most other industries, technology optimizes efficiency, streamlines manual processes, and in most cases, adds dollars to the bottom line. I have found some of the most prosperous dairies to be those that are not afraid to research and employ new technologies.
Lucky for me, I work for a company that believes in the power of technology and added value. One of my responsibilities at MWI includes sales and support of our Cubex Wireless Inventory Management System a product offered through one of MWI’s co brands; Micro Technologies. This has quickly become a favorite part of my job. Mostly because it isn’t a product, rather a piece of technology that when used properly just flat out makes life more simple.
Here’s a visual of how the system works:
Anytime an employee enters the room, they will sign in to the computer via fingerprint recognition. They will then go to the item on the shelf that they need, press the green “take” button on the Qbud and exit the medicine room. That event is time stamped and dated with the employees name attached and that product is removed from inventory.
Below are some shots I took during a recent installation. First the computer system was installed, then the antibiotics, vaccines, and supplies were organized in the room and lastly Qbuds were placed in front of each item.
The Qbuds even go into the refrigerator to track usage of vaccine and antibiotics that need to be kept cold.
Each rooms that is installed is temperature controlled and locked with a code/fingerprint door lock to help with theft.
The goals of the Cubex System include increasing efficiency, tracking product usage, automating re-ordering, reducing on-hand inventory (and therefore $$ sitting on the shelves), tightening lost or stolen inventory, and overall giving management greater control with less time spent on this area of the dairy.
As regulations tighten, like SB 27 (Hill) (more information below), it is imperative that producers keep accurate records and a strong working relationship with their veterinarians. This piece of technology does just that all-the-while reducing human error.
To some, technology can be overwhelming but to dairymen it’s a necessary tool that keeps them in business. For more information on the technologies used on dairies, feel free to shoot me a message on the “contact me” tab.
Now, time for a glass of milk, better yet, some ice cream,
A few bullet points pertaining to SB 27 include:
• Prohibits the use of medically important antimicrobial drugs in livestock and poultry unless prescribed by a veterinarian.
• Bans the use of antibiotics to promote growth or increase feed efficiency.
• Requires CDFA to develop antibiotic stewardship guidelines.
• Mandates CDFA to create a program to track the use of medically important antibiotics and track antibiotic-resistant bacteria and patterns of emerging resistance.