Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Dairy Innovation in Brazil

An interesting piece in the World Bank blog:
Within 20 minutes, all 40 cows were milked with new equipment the family acquired two months before with support from the SC Rural Program. Prior to this, they’d had to endure the laborious and time-consuming process of milking the cows by hand. “We decided to adopt this automated system not only to improve productivity and quality of the milk, but because Zenaide and I were having back problems,” said Osni.
I have to say I'm not real comfortable with the writer and the "12-hour internship".  Consider the paragraph above.  Milking cows by hand is time-consuming; even using the milking machines we had on the farm it would take around an hour and a half.  I don't think cows let down their milk much faster these days. 40 cows seems too big an operation for two or three people to manage.  And going from hand milking to an elaborate robotic operation (though the nature of the equipment is never specified) seems a rash decision--too big a capital investment, too big of a leap.

Later in the article there's a reference to technology leading to a tripling of milk production in the state in 10 years. IMO improved breeding and increased numbers would be the biggest contributors to such an increase, with better technology enabling the bigger herds.   But who knows--it's interesting; Brazil may become as a big a competitor of the US in dairy as it is in soybeans.

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