Sensors make evolutionary operational management in dairy herds possible

Author: Margareta Emanuelson (SLU) - August 24, 2017

Evolutionary operational (EVOP) management implies making systematic small changes in production factors and procedures during running production, and thereby finding ways to a more efficient production, and has its widest application in industrial processes. However, the development towards larger dairy herds with access to automatic or semi-automatic data recordings on a large number of relevant input and performance indicators opens for management tools able to dynamically estimate the effect of changes made in the daily management on a specific farm.

EVOP, compared to traditional management tools, includes a direct evaluation of the effect of a change based on simple, but at the same time statistically sound, designs defined and constructed to suit site-specific conditions. An on-going project at Aarhus University and Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) evaluates if and how EVOP can be implemented in commercial dairy herds as an integrated part of herd management. The herd management areas that are addressed are milking procedures, grouping strategies, feeding strategies and udder health. According to Professor Ulf Emanuelson, at SLU, the EVOP technique has shown very promising results and may well be a future tool for advisors in the area of farm management systems. 

A first scientific paper, on the statistical foundation for EVOP in dairy herds, has been published in Journal of Dairy Science.