Dairy farmers are getting ‘butter’ at sustainability, thanks to technology advancements

The Association of Equipment Manufacturers recently teamed up with the National Milk Producers Federation and Dairy Farmers of America to look at how modern dairy technologies have impacted the industry and consumers over the last 15 years.

The study showed milk production has increased by nearly 20 percent since 2007, despite fewer cows, and leaders attribute that to more data being shared online and being more accessible. It found that American dairy farmers have become more sustainable thanks to advancements in genetics and technology. It is estimated that milk could increase 11 percent by the end of the decade if the industry continues with its current trend of advancements.

Chad Huyser with Lely North America explains how the study got started and its key takeaways.

“If you look at the role of equipment technology has played, we’ve seen a tremendously positive impact on milk yield. We believe the technology adoption can be attributed to a milk yield increase of about 6 percent. We believe, and the data supports, that we’ve been able to reduce the feed usage by what’s the equivalent of 3,200 NFL football stadiums full of feed. We also see decreased use of land very much attributable to that decreased feed. The land needed to grow the feedstocks for our dairy producers has been reduced by what we would compare to roughly the size of the state of Maryland. Then, we see reductions in annual emissions. We believe that’s been somewhere around taking the equivalent of four million cars off the road in that period of time, and we’ve been able to see reduced water usage, enough to supply in New York City for about two years.”

The groups say they will continue working together to further advance the technology and practices found in the report.