Technology and the Future of Canadian Dairy Farming

The image of the old weathered farmer, toiling away in fields and stalls, enduring unpredictable hardships, is just that—it’s old. In reality, today’s Canadian dairy farmers have evolved their farms and barns from those of their parents and previous generations. Find out how the introduction of smart technology on the farm is shaping the future of Canadian dairy farming.

New tools of the trade

Dairy farming has been one of the cornerstones of agriculture in Canada ever since early settlers arrived from Europe centuries ago. And we’ve come a long way from the humble times of milking stools and pails. Modern dairy farming requires modern tools. Nicolas Mailloux, a 3rd generation dairy farmer, studied industrial electronics, and puts that knowledge to good use every day. Along with Nicolas, many dairy farmers have upgraded their farms with high-tech tools: milking robots, feed-pushing robots, GPS-enabled tractors, text alerts to notify farmers about calving cows, and more.

Nicolas Mailloux, Mailloux et Fils Farm“I use my [Industrial Electronics] Diploma every day, but I never imagined it would be this useful,” explains Nicolas Mailloux from Mailloux et Fils Farm.

Work smarter, not harder

With technology assisting in some manual tasks, and aiding in the collection of data, the role of dairy farmers is changing. Through technology Canadian dairy farmers are finding ways to improve the health of their cows and milk production, by taking the data inputs and optimizing every little detail. Data is being used to detect illness early on, allowing farmers to intervene sooner and provide the necessary care for their cows more quickly than was possible before, therefore improving their quality of life. Ana-Maria Martin of Lorami Farm sees the benefits of data. Her small herd is able to produce the same number of litres of milk that would be expected of a larger herd. And this is good news for not just the farmers, but for the environment. Having smaller herds and efficient milk production processes means a smaller carbon footprint.

Technology with a human touch

While technology is contributing to advancing the dairy industry, what will continue to stay core to Canadian dairy farming are the values of passion and compassion. It’s the reason why dairy farmers invest in technology that focuses on the health, comfort, and well-being of the herd. Technology is not only allowing farmers to optimize milk production, it also improves the well-being of the cows. By adopting technology like motion-activated cow brushes, cow health trackers, and cow pedometers, Canadian dairy farmers are making it clear that future of dairy farming includes providing the highest level of animal care.  

Technology should be seen as an important tool, and not a replacement for dairy farmers. New technology and the data captured will ensure that the next generation of dairy farmers will have the knowledge and tools to continue to produce the highest quality milk for all Canadians.

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