Precision dairy farming

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Since the period of second white revolution, India in the sector of dairying has tremendously progressed. Dairy has always been a subsidiary sector which augmented not only farmers income but also it helped in satisfying the basic nutritional requirement. Therefore bringing technological advancement in dairy sector is a much needed approach. Agriculture sector was always in a purview of bring brought under new technology just as in case of green revolution that was highly mechanized. This led to the era of genetic modifications inorder to increase the yield of the crops. This yield further increased when more intense modern technology was used. Precision farming was such similar approach. It included monitoring crops through use of satellite and aerial imagery, weather prediction, variable rate fertilizer application, and crop health indicators and also aggregate the machine data for even more precise planting, topographical mapping, and soil data. Now the question arises how to implement these technology in dairy sector which was equally important. Researchers had already documented that performance of animals can be improved through proper monitoring and evaluation. There comes the role of decision support system. Precision dairy farming involves the use of technologies to measure physiological, behavioral, and production indicators on individual animals. Its main objective underlines maximizing individual animal potential, early detection of disease, and minimizing the use of medication through preventive health measures.

Why Precision dairy farming?

  • Limited resource condition
  • More cost and less profit incurred by farmers
  • Mainly dairying is practiced by small and marginal farmers and they are not properly skilled.
  • Technological intervention is needed to increase yield because though aggregate yield in India is more but the productivity is less.
  • Mostly the technologies in this sector are consumer centric and not farmer’s centric.

Key features of precision dairy farming:

  • Use of modern technology to monitor.
  • Early detection of diseases and other health problems in animals.
  • Helps farmers to take timely and correct decision regarding the maintenance of herd.
  • Minimize medication through preventive health.
  • Less use of inputs like labour which can be diverted to other uses.
  • Optimization of use of resources and maximizing profits.

Major Benefits:

  • Reduced costs.
  • Increased efficiency.
  • Minimized environmental effect
  • Risk management and risk analysis.
  • Data collection and research opprtunities

Examples of precision dairy farming technologies include milk yield recording systems, milk component monitors, activity monitors, lying and rumination behavior monitors, milk conductivity indicators, and heat detection monitors, body weight, temperature, stress level analysis, etc. By proper processing of these data in combination with decision support systems, the application of these sensors improves animal monitoring and decision-making. Thus productivity of animals can be improved.

Dr. Priyanka Lal

Ph.D, National Dairy Research Institute

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