Look up or down the food supply chain, and you’ll see an increasing use of technology. Dairy production is no different, where farmers are relying more on modern technology to optimize their milk output.
Perhaps the biggest lever dairy farmers can pull in creating better output is making sure dairy cow inputs – aka feed – is highly optimized. This is where Consumer Physics come in. That’s right, the company behind the somewhat controversial SCiO handheld near-infrared spectrometer has partnered with one of the world’s biggest food commodity conglomerates in Cargill to create a scanner that uses the same technology to analyze cattle forage – the corn silage and haylage fed to milk cows – for the amount of dry matter.
So what is dry matter and why does it matter?
Dry matter is the amount that remains after water is removed. It matters to farmers because the amount of dry matter in feed has a significant impact on milk production.
According to Shane St. Cyr, Cargill Strategic Dairy Services and Technology Scout for Cargill, changes in the dry matter means changes to “the ration. Cows may be getting too many nutrients which may not be a health or production risk, but it can certainly impact the bottom line. On the other hand, if the ration doesn’t match what we think is being fed to the cows, they may have a nutritional loss, and a cow can’t physically eat enough to make up for it.”
For Consumer Physics, this move into big ag is further validation for a company...