Three brothers, Dean, Greg and Randy Smith, farm together at D&D Dairy in Rushford, Minnesota. The 1,000-cow dairy began adopting precision dairy technologies in April 2011 and now considers them to be valuable tools to the operation.

The five technologies Dean Smith says he can no longer farm without include:


1. Ai24 SCR Heatime Pro system

“This has been a good system,” Smith says of the technology he acquired from Semex in July 2012.

By monitoring rumination in each cow, it detects sick cows a day earlier than he could without the system.


The same tag also monitors activity and has helped the farm increase its pregnancy rate from 21 percent to 26 percent, while at the same time decreasing its injections by 66 percent.

2. Valley Ag Software FeedWatch – Installed on the TMR mixer, this system helps the farm track and manage feed inventories. It also helps in training the feeder because it tracks any errors made, such as feeding time, mixing time and over-addition or under-addition of ingredients.

3. BouMatic SmartDairy meters – The farm installed this technology when it switched its parlor equipment in 2011, and it has made “a big improvement in parlor performance,” Smith says.

This made it easier to adjust automatic take-off and milk-flow settings, which resulted in faster milking times, milking more cows per hour and less time for cows to stand in the holding area. Larger claws and hoses also helped to improve milk flow.

4. Computers – Smith says the farm has five or six computers set up in different locations on the farm. While there are a variety of them, he says his preference is toward Dell. Having reliable computers is important when working with precision technologies.

5. Valley Ag Software DairyComp 305 – Smith, his managers and his team of industry advisers rely on this program heavily. In particular, it serves as a reproductive management tool to analyze the progress the farm is making by viewing various reports and graphs.

These technologies and tools are all very useful to D&D Dairy, but at the end of the day, Smith says it is the work of “good employees that makes everything else possible.” PD

PHOTO:Elisabeth and Dean Smith are implementing precision dairy technologies at their family farm in southeastern Minnesota. The farm is a partnership between Dean and his brothers. Photo by Karen Lee.