Precision Dairy

Attendees at a previous Precision Dairy Conference tour dairy farms making use of robotic technology.

ROCHESTER, Minn. – Minnesota is gearing up to host the second International Precision Dairy Conference. The conference features speakers, farmers and researchers from all over the world, focusing on new technologies and advancements in the dairy industry.

“The uniqueness of the event this year is that besides the industry topics and the keynote speakers that we bring in, we also have abstracts that were submitted from people from different parts of the world,” said Marcia I. Endres, professor and director of graduate studies with the University of Minnesota Department of Animal Science.

These abstracts represent research projects that various people have been working on. They are testing and studying different technologies within the dairy industry, giving producers an unbiased look at how those technologies really perform.

“They are very applied types of research projects that I think will be very helpful to the attendees,” said Endres. “Our attendees are primarily consultants, veterinarians, industry representatives, academics, researchers, extension people, some students, and then also dairy producers.”

Minnesota was host to the first Precision Dairy Conference in 2013. While that conference was not labeled as an international event, 26 countries were represented through people attending, speakers and the research work that was submitted.

The International Precision Dairy Farming Association is based in the Netherlands and oversees these events.

Minnesota has held other state and nationwide Precision Dairy Conferences in the past.

These conferences focus on technology in dairy production. The speakers and presentations focus on things like robotic milkers and feeding systems, various cattle monitoring and milk sensors, as well as other related items.

“It is a lot of different technologies,” she said. “We have a session on data ownership this time – how data is being used by producers, by the industry, by academics, etc.”

The event takes place June 18-20 at the Mayo Civic Center in Rochester. A full schedule for the event can be found online at extension.umn.edu/event/2019-precision-dairy-farming-conference.

The first day of the event focuses on data usage in dairy production as well as the application and use of various sensory devices.

The next day goes more into dairy production, the use of robotics, automated feeding systems, other types of automation. There are also sessions looking at cattle health, productivity and feed efficiency.

Brian Houin, a dairy producer, will be presenting that day, talking about large scale robotics and dairy farming.

“They have 36 box robots at their farm in Indiana and they are currently the largest robotic milking dairy in United States,” she said.

On the other end of the spectrum, 70-cow dairy farmer Ron von Burgsteden from the Netherlands will be presenting.

“He does all the work himself and he uses technology,” said Endres. “He is also very active on a lot of boards and he chairs a committee about data utilization, Joint Data, a European project.”

The final day of the event, June 20, is reserved for a farm tour.

Throughout the whole event, attendees will have ample time to browse the abstracts and research projects that were submitted and will be on display. They will also be able to interact and network.

“We are not going to learn just from the people that are speaking, but also the people that are attending,” she said. “There is a good mix of industry, academics, and producers that together will have the opportunity to talk about their experiences.”

Registration for the event is required and can be done online at the same website as the schedule of events.