Computer vision technology tested on California dairyPublished: Feb. 2, 2017 enewsletter and Feb. 25, 2017 print issue Progressive Dairyman Editor Walt Cooley featured Maddox Dairy in Riverdale, California, and their adoption of Cainthus computer vision technology.

Cameras were installed in a barn of about 400 cows. The software can identify individual cows based on their pelt pattern and analyzes how they move and what that means.

How does “pelt pattern” work on Jerseys or Brown Swiss? In other words, can your system work with breeds other than Holsteins?
—Steve Fried

Yes it can. We can use more than pelt pattern to ID other breeds. We need to train our Detector and ID algorithms to look at other physical features and combine them with pelt pattern to issue an ID. As an example, two cows that may look identical to us are actually quite unique.

Features like width between eyes, length of head, placement of ear tag and other subtle features makes what we perceive as similar very different.
—David Hunt, Cainthus


Manage your herd’s genetics with a low-cost alternative
Published: Jan. 1, 2017 print issue

In this article, Denise Athy and Bill VerBoort of AgriTech Analytics presented strategies for improving genetics. They urged producers to consider using traditional indexes and the data already available in addition to the relatively new tool of genomics.

In addition to net merit, the Council on Dairy Cattle Breeding also provides fluid merit, cheese merit, and grazing merit indexes for herds in differing milk markets (see Net merit as a measure of lifetime profit: 2014 revision for details).
—Suzanne Hubbard

Changing how we get paid: A dairy farmer’s suggestions for commodity pricing
Published: Nov. 29, 2016 enewsletter

Wisconsin dairy producer Theo Scholze offered a thought-provoking blog on the current commodity system. He proposed that farmers be able to wait to pay for seed and fertilizer until delivery and to be paid more immediately for milk.

Concerning the pricing of milk, I would argue that producer co-ops need to do a better job at EXPLAINING the existing Federal Order system. I believe the current multiple component pricing system is good because it pays the producer, based on the value of their components in the market place.

In other words, BF is based on what butter is selling for, PR is based on what cheese is selling for, and OS is based on what whey is selling for. (There’s a lot more that goes into accounting for all the various uses of BF, PR, & OS but this is the basic idea). The lag in the pay (about two weeks) is the time that it takes for the Federal Orders to compile the marketplace sales data and calculate the actual value that BF, PR, & OS had in the marketplace.
—Earl D Biggers

Thank you Theo for bringing out so many fine points. It really is bizarre that we as dairymen are propping up processors and other related businesses. When will dairymen ever learn?
—Harley Wagenseller

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