|Downtown Rochester with in the Middle the Mayo Civic|
center where the meeting was held
Together with Albert de Vries I had the honour to wrap up the conference. It is a bit of a ungrateful honour, because many people are leaving the conference, much of what you want to say has already been told and people just want to go home. On the other hand it is also a nice challenge to make such a talk interesting.
The presentation that I gave can be found here. In short I presented that in my opinion a successful precision dairy farming application (I also call it "sensor system") has to do more than measuring a physiological status in a cow. That data has to be transformed in useful information. Without that information, the sensor is useless. The goal of precision dairy farming applications should be decision support. Sensor information therefore, for some applications, should be combined with other data sources and be associated with decision support tools. There are hardly any applications described in scientific literature (see the review of Niels Rutten) that contain all of these aspects.
Successfull applications should furthermore be economical viable (benefits exceed the costs), although this is not always necessary, for instance in the case of adoption of automatic milking, where quality of life, flexibility of labor etc. are important reasons to invest in automatic milking.
Finally I think that the ultimate goal of precision dairy farming should be to explore the full potential of each individual dairy cow, instead of managing cows in groups. In the old days with small herds, that was possible, with the larger herds, that became difficult, but now with assitance of precision dairy farming technology it is possible again.