Preservation. Noun. The act of keeping something as it is, especially in order to prevent it from getting damaged or destroyed.
Preservation-the word I’d use if I had to choose just one word to reflect the dairy industry this year. When farms think about preservation, they may think in terms of transition planning, securing a milk market, or reducing major costs on the farm, such as the cost of labor. In a world that is constantly changing, the dairy industry and the robotic milking sector are no exception. As I’ve sat in various meetings this month and talked to industry representatives and producers alike at world dairy expo, I have begun to notice a shift in terms of robotic thinking.
For the foreseeable future, the days of twenty-four-dollar milk are behind us, and with that are the lifestyle-based reasonings for buying robots. Our producers today are focused on how to preserve their business to stay in the industry in the next five years. With that comes a necessary look toward the future. When large farms with numerous employees look to the future, they see the rising cost of labor rates. For that reason, there has been a change in the robotic milking industry with the strong emergence of “XL Dairies”– dairies which milk 500 cows or more. Larger farms see the cost of labor as a major threat for their business and a major motivation for moving toward automation. In Pennsylvania, we are looking forward to this movement spreading to the east coast and are excited for the opportunity to work with our larger farms. Lely, being the visionary company that they are, has done an excellent job building a team of dedicated XL professionals as well as training Lely Centers to work with large farms.
In keeping true to their visionary process and the theme of preservation, Lely released the Orbiter. Many smaller farms have been brainstorming how to utilize this technology because they recognize that they will have to diversify to stay competitive in the market.
In my young career as a dairy industry professional, this has been as tough a year as I have ever witnessed. We are seeing major changes in the industry and the way farms need to do business in order to survive. Lely Center Mid-Atlantic is proud to be part of a proactive company that sees the changes to come in the industry and meets them with a solution.