Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Technology and Dairy Flourish in Small Countries?

The NYTimes has a piece on a technology test in Switzerland: managers of dairy herds can be notified by text if their cows are in heat (based on temperature of vulva and cow activity). (For those benighted souls reading this who never grew up on a dairy farm: you have to inseminate the cow within x hours of when she comes in heat.  If you don't catch her heat, or she fails to become pregnant, you're facing a month of payments for feed that's pure waste, except of course for the cow.) The story says it's harder to tell when a cow is in heat with modern dairy cows. Without challenging that assertion, I'd suggest the high ratio of cows to people in modern dairies also makes it more difficult.

I do wonder if down the line PETA will protest this mistreatment of cows. 

Another development on the technology front is the modification of bovine genetics so their milk is less likely to trigger allergies. Interesting that the development comes from New Zealand.  I wonder about the level of anti-science feeling there.

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