Technology helps Canadian dairy farmers give cows spa treatment

Technology helps Canadian dairy farmers give cows spa treatment

With new technology, life on the farm is getting better for the farmer and the cow.

In fact, one Canadian dairy farm in eastern Ontario is experiencing increased milk production, and the farmer credits his happy, comfortable herd.

The new state-of-the-art barn at the Oosterhof Farm is just a couple years old.

Henry Oosterhof has farmed there for decades; first with his father, now with his brother and son.

"It was a 25, 30-year plan. We were going to borrow a lot of money, make a commitment," said Oosterhof.

That commitment was to introduce the latest technology and make milking more efficient to sustain the three families that operate the farm.

Today, robots do the milking whenever their 90 cows are ready and want to be milked. Robots have also replaced the farmers' shovel and broom. Transponders around the cows' necks even monitor their digestive health.

"If there's a challenge here any time of day, the robot phones us," said Oosterhof. "With new technology, state of the art technology, we really believe we've improved our lifestyle as a family, my son will probably be able to see a few more hockey games that his son might play than I did. But we've also improved our cow's lifestyle.

There's a lot of high tech equipment, but you could almost call the operation a spa for cows -- with body brushes, pedicures and waterbeds.

"It's something that's come along, and they're very comfortable for the cows. They require very little bedding, which is nice, lowers our cost for bedding. We just put down a bit of shavings to keep them dry. It's offered to us, why shouldn't it be offered to them?" said Steven Oosterhof

"Her body isn't on cement. And it does spread her weight around," explained Henry.

The waterbeds for cows can withstand a lot of weight. Oosterhof says they're very durable, adding that a tractor could drive across them.

These farmers talk a lot of about keeping their cows content.

"It's not all about getting as much milk out of a cow as you can. It's getting enough out of the cow, the most a cow can do comfortably," said Steven.

Steven Oosterhof wants this farm to stay on top of new trends so years from now, his son can take over.

"We brought the robots in to bring in the next generation because it's -- milk is a lot of work. It's more sustainable, definitely, more sustainable," said Alex Oosterhof.

The Oosterhofs say their cows are producing 20 percent more milk since the new technology was introduced.

It's a farm with happy cows -- and now even happier farmers.

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