Keeping Milk Safe and Profitable through Farm Modernization
Cooperative Extension Dairy Update
Despite the economic concerns stemming from several years of low farm gate prices of milk, some New York dairy operations have adopted a proactive approach by investing in farm improvements to increase efficiency, cow comfort, overall animal welfare, and, ultimately, milk quality.
Cornell Cooperative Extension Harvest New York Farm Strategic Planning Specialist, Tim Terry, was instrumental in the planning phases for an $800,000 (estimated) multi-year project in Wyoming County which includes a new dairy barn with a robotic milking system for ~250 Jersey cows, a bunker silo, and an earthen ag waste storage pond. Once populated, the new barn will relieve current overcrowding issues and will contribute to improved cow comfort and overall farm health.
Robotic milking systems remove much of the labor, reducing the potential for human error. Abnormal and/or unsaleable milk from cows undergoing treatment therapies is automatically diverted and sequestered apart from saleable milk, ensuring high bacteria counts or antibiotics will not enter the food stream.
The new bunker silo with a silage leachate collection system and the ag waste storage pond will protect environmental quality through collection and containment of nutrients until they can be properly applied to crops. This recycles the nutrients and significantly decreases the likelihood of runoff and subsequent contamination of water resources.