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Technology makes for better milk

Technology makes for better milk

Advancements in breeding and genetics over the years has resulted in a better quality of dairy cow.

POSTED September 26, 2012 12:37 p.m.

Dairy farmers work hard every day to bring consumers wholesome milk products. Almost all dairies are family-owned, and as active members of their communities, farm families take pride in feeding the country and maintaining natural resources.  Local dairy farmer Ray Souza has provided an impeccable system on his farm to ensure families are receiving the best quality of milk.

“In order to provide the best quality of milk for our consumers, we make sure our animals are living in sustainable conditions,” said Souza.

In addition to the physical comfort of his cows, Souza pays close attention to the nutritional needs of each individual cow.

“We feed our cattle three different types of feed because like any other athletes, cows need a balanced nutrition to produce the best quality of milk,” said Souza.  “We feed our animals grain corn, alfalfa hay, and silage because it contains fiber proteins and carbohydrates needed for the cows’ milk production.”

Souza’s cows have free access to water and special feed rations that his nutritionists formulates. The ration is adjusted daily based on each cow’s feed intake and her special needs in order produce superior quality milk.

“We know the exact amount of milk that each cow is producing,” said Souza.  “Based on the results, we measure the percentages of fat, protein, and energy in the milk to help us determine the amount of feed we should give to our cattle.”

Souza also relies on technology to improve management strategies and farm performance.

“In the early days milkers used stools, buckets and their hands to get the milk out of the cows,” said Souza.  “The milking machines that we use in our farms are attached to the utter and the milk line goes directly to the bulk tank.”

The advances in technology have also helped Souza with breeding and selection for his cattle.

“Dairy breeding is perfect for quantitative analysis,” said Souza. “Pedigree records have been assiduously kept.   Artificial insemination has helped centralized genetic information in bulls; there are a relatively small and easily measurable number of traits. Farmers invest thousands of dollars into each animal, so it's worth it to get the best semen money can buy.”

Prior to 1935, there was no national program for evaluating dairy cattle breeding and no real genetic progress was made. Over the years various programs and traits have been introduced, each increasing the rate of genetic progress in differing amounts and improving the dairy cow.

“The quality of our milk has improved substantially throughout the years because of the advances of technology,” said Souza.  “A precision dairy farming technology allows dairy producers to make more timely and informed decisions, resulting in better productivity and milk quality.”

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