UFV Guest Blogger: Sukhwinder
We’ve had a student from UFV join us for his practicum for the past three weeks! It’s always nice welcoming a fresh set of eyes to the team, because we get to see the farm through their perspective, hear their ideas and as we show them around we’re reminded of just how neat this place really is.
I am Sukhwinder and I am from India. I am doing livestock production certificate in university of the Fraser Valley and now I am doing my practicum in Eco Dairy. I choose dairy because of my family background. In India we have 12 Cows and a few acres of field in which we grow forage, wheat and rice. When I came in Canada most of the things were totally new for me. In Eco Dairy I had a chance to work with all the advanced equipment’s in dairy farm like robot milker which also analyses milk quality, quantity of milk given by each cow and also checks for problems like Mastitis by counting somatic cells, and if there is any problem it sends text message to the farmer with cow number and there is a rumination tracker on ear of each cow to track rumination process.
In comparison to my home country where we milk cows by hand and we do not analyze milk quality, at home we have different management practices than Canadian farmers. In Eco Dairy they analyze cows feed in lab and identify all the micro and macro-nutrients in the forage, after identifying deficiencies or to meet the required amount of nutrients in the forage they add only required supplements, which saves money and provide proper feed to the cattle for better performance.
Hydro Green is a new project at Eco Dairy to improve the performance of cattle by providing fresh and energetic feed. The Hydro green has a setup in a small room with six layers on each side with sprinklers. On each layer they grow wheat or barley at different stages without soil and it takes six days to harvest. So, it provides fresh wheat grass throughout the year. After harvesting wheat grass, they mix it in the ration by mixture wagon. Hydro green is very helpful in increasing the nutrient value of wheat or barley. When we feed wheat seeds directly they have only 11% to 13% protein but when we grow it in a Hydro green it increases its protein content up to 18% because after 6 days growth it has fresh leaves and roots which increase its nutrients. So, I think Hydro green is the future of agriculture, especially for those farmers who have less land to feed their animals and they can see results by visiting Eco dairy.
In Eco Dairy, they use GEA manure remover which is operated by cable and it scrapes manure from one end of the barn to the other end, then collected manure is used to generate electricity, after that manure is used as a fertilizer in the field. I think Eco Dairy is the best place to see how science and technology is used in agriculture.