Efficient resource use to keep dairy farms profitable

In times of decreasing milk prices for dairy farmers worldwide, cost control becomes more important than ever. For DeLaval, cost control means finding ways of using resources more efficiently, the company said at the World Dairy Summit in Berlin (September 21-24).

“Businesses worldwide are busy trying to reduce their cost base to keep afloat. That is no different in the dairy industry. We believe the goal of doing more with less can be achieved by supporting farm managers with suitable technology, not rocket-science inventions necessarily but simple solutions already available can really make a difference” DeLaval Vice President Business Area Aftermarket & Services Tim Nicolaï told a news conference. 

In today’s market, as profit margins decline, milk producers explore new ways to cut expenses. Lowering the costs of milk production has to work hand in hand with reducing the environmental footprint of farms, Nicolaï explained.

DeLaval put forward Sustainable Dairy Farming (SDF) in 2008, a holistic approach to sustainability based on measuring and improving the performance of a dairy farm in terms of four interlinked resource pillars: Animal Welfare, Environment, Social Responsibility and Farm Profitability. 

In addition to milk price concerns, a recent survey sourced by DeLaval indicates that more than one in five dairy farmers around the world see energy consumption, water management and manure handling as significant concerns, with more than one in five respondents expecting these areas to strongly impact their business over the next three years. 

DeLaval has developed a quotation tool for sales staff to evaluate the energy footprint of the system farmers are planning to use. 

The list of solutions that can contribute to making dairy farms more sustainable is already quite long, the company claims. DeLaval offers for example a scroll compressor that reduces the power needed for cooling milk; an automatic feeding station that reduces concentrate waste, saves energy and cuts CO2 emissions; or a one-step detergent and acidifier for pipeline/bulk tanks, Zone™, that saves time, water, energy and costs as it skips the pre-cleaning routine. 

The last version of the DeLaval robotic milker, the Voluntary Milking System (VMS), brings down energy consumption to an all time low, ranging between 15 and 25 kW per ton of milk. This makes VMS one of the most cost efficient milking systems in the world, capable of harvesting 2000 to 2500 kg of milk per day. 

And another good example, according to Nicolaï, is the Swinging Cow Brush (SCB). A recent study by Cornell University concluded that second lactation cows using this “self-grooming” device showed a significant and increasing difference in daily milk production of up to +1kg per day, and lower clinical mastitis cases. 

“We are incorporating SDF into all our research and development to make it possible to continuously reduce the environmental footprint of farms, while improving milk production, farm profitability and the well-being of the people and the animals involved,” Nicolaï concluded. 

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Rachel Yang
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