This is understandable. We do know that as herd sizes increase, the minutes per day available to monitor and provide care to each and every individual animal, dramatically reduces. Routine antibiotic and hormone intervention use, to address some of the welfare, production issues, then becomes a vicious cycle, resulting in lost milk from the food chain and an animal becoming less productive. Less productive animal, less profit and ultimately cows are culled far sooner, than they would ordinarily be, based on their natural productive lifespan. What a waste. What a waste on so many sustainable levels, not just for the cow, but for producers, food chains, our environment, our global food demands and in our continuing fight against antibiotic resistance. If like me, you love your milk, cheese and yoghurt, this is perhaps not something as consumers, we like to think or even hear about.
But this is the real sustainability challenge.
I have been fortunate over the years, to have visited and worked on some wonderful dairy farms around the world, from small farms in Sweden, Norway to well run family farms in Ireland and the UK, to highly efficient robot farms in Holland and to very large farms in California, the Middle & Far East. I have met some great people working on and with the cows on these farms. What is always abundantly clear, irrespective of the herd size, is that the individual animal is without doubt, the heartbeat of each and every one of those farms. Each cow has its own personal trait, behaviour and how she conforms within the herd. It is great to see and always makes me smile, especially as I always seem to find the one cow, who nervous and wary of you at first, ends up following you everywhere all over the farm.
We all want happy, long living cows producing milk sustainably on whatever size of farm
Smart-animal friendly-digitisation just strikes us, as a positive sustainable path to achieving this aim. The intention through licensing is to facilitate expertise, science and local enterprise that challenges the current norm, to deliver on that next generation of animal centric data solutions. We like to think, that this is perhaps a good first step, on the sustainable food chain path.