Many dairy farmers are working to improve on-farm sustainability. An important tool in this work is technology – from solar panels to LED light bulbs and even robots, dairy farmers utilize technology in many ways to minimize their impact on the environment.
LED Light Bulbs
Just like the lightbulbs in your own home have been upgraded to long-lasting, low-energy LED bulbs, so have dairy farms!
An older technology now, plate coolers can be found on many dairy farms. They work by running warm, fresh milk from the cow in tiny tubes next to tubes full of cold water. The heat from the milk warms the water and the water cools the milk before it is stored for pick up. These devices are extremely energy efficient and save dairies from using energy to refrigerate warm milk.
Solar panels are increasingly popular on parking garages, streetlights, homes and even dairy farms. Like other alternative energy options, some dairy farmers are able to tap into solar panels to help generate the power needed to operate the farm.
Robotic Feed Pushers
Robotic feed pushers push cow feed up to the cows so that every last bite can be eaten. Reducing waste is the first step toward sustainability and this technology helps dairy farmers maximize their feed and reduce the need for gas-powered equipment.
Long gone are the days of hand milking each cow. Some dairy farms even milk their cows by robot! This technology allows dairy cows to be milked at their leisure and dairy farmers can do more of the work of running a farm with fewer people. Robotic milkers reduce the energy cows spend walking to the parlor, reduce labor costs, and ultimately, allow many dairies to stay in business and pass the farm on to their children.
Methane digesters are large closed tanks where micro-organisms break down organic material like manure and food waste and capture the resulting biogas. That gas is then used to power the dairy farm and often, neighboring homes. Methane digesters are a great way to reduce dairy’s impact on the environment.
As you can see, there are many technologies that help dairy farmers reduce their impact on the environment and be sustainable for the future. We can’t wait to see what dairy farmers think of next!