Meet Cargill’s Cowboy Robot

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Cargill has developed the first ever robotic cattle driver to improve both animal welfare and employee safety.

The robots are designed to move cattle from pens to the harvest area, reducing stress to the animals by minimizing their proximity to human activity. Employees operate the robots from a catwalk located above the pens, reducing safety risks by keeping those who work in the cattle yard portion of processing plants at a safer distance.

Using waving automated arms, blowers and audio recordings to move cattle in a desired direction, the robots can operate in rain, snow or mud, with no delay in daily operations. Testing was conducted at Cargill’s Wyalusing, Penn., and Schuyler, Neb., beef processing facilities to determine a design and operational attributes of the robot that would effectively improve animal welfare and employee safety before being implemented at the company’s U.S. and Canadian beef plants.

The robotic cattle drivers are currently being implemented at Cargill Protein beef plants in the U.S. and Canada and are manufactured by the New Jersey-based company Flock Free, which is primarily a company focused on bird control for various industries.

Learn more about the Cowboy Robot from Cargill and watch it at work in this video –

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Animal Ag Bites 10/22

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  • The dairy checkoff has awarded 13 academic scholarships to students enrolled in programs that emphasize dairy and who have shown potential to become future dairy leaders. The National Dairy Promotion and Research Board, through Dairy Management Inc., which manages the national dairy checkoff, annually awards $2,500 scholarships to each student. In addition, the NDB awards a $3,500 James H. Loper Jr. Memorial Scholarship to one outstanding scholarship recipient.
  • Jeff Wilkerson, a long-time industry expert in livestock sales and marketing, has announced a new independent venture under the company name Wilkerson Solutions.
  • Hiland Dairy Foods Company received 16 awards in dairy product categories during the 2018 World Dairy Expo Championship Dairy Product Contest.
  • News on the trade front is getting better for U.S. pork producers as the Trump administration announced it wants to negotiate trade agreements with the European Union, Japan and the United Kingdom. The National Pork Producers Council commended the administration for its ambitious trade agenda.
  • Swanson Russell has been selected as agency of record for the Cattlemen’s Beef Promotion and Research Board.
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Alltech Trace Minerals Optimize Animal Health

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Alltech is having great success with its organic trace mineral products that mimic nature’s organic trace minerals but are better absorbed by the animal.

“We make the trace minerals in a way that they’re more absorbed and more retained in the body so we have better mineral status,” said Brad Rortvedt, Regional Sales Manager with Alltech. “By having better mineral status in the animal, or in humans, we can have better immunity and better overall performance.”

Research shows using these trace minerals with mature females improves the lifetime performance of their offspring. This could mean seeing heifers reach first sign of estrus more quickly and having a better first service conception rate, for example. Rortvedt was at the 2018 World Dairy Expo, talking with producers about the importance of trace minerals and optimizing performance in today’s dairy industry as genetics continue to improve.

Listen to Jamie’s interview with Brad here: Interview with Brad Rortvedt, Alltech

2018 World Dairy Expo Photo Album

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Alltech Launches #iamAG Photo Contest

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A picture is worth a thousand words — or a free trip to the ONE: The Alltech Ideas Conference (ONE19) held in Lexington, Kentucky, May 19–21, 2019.

Alltech’s #iamAG online agvocacy photo contest invites American farmers, ranchers, producers and all agricultural workers to submit and share photos of their farms and ag lifestyle for the opportunity to win the trip. Photos must be submitted online by Nov. 30, 2018, at 9:00 a.m. EST. They will be judged by a panel, who will select the top photos as finalists, and those photos will be published on Alltech’s Facebook page (

Voting will open to the public on Dec. 3 at 3:00 p.m. EST and will close on Dec. 17 at 12:00 p.m. EST. Use the hashtag #iamAG to find the photos or visit the Facebook album to vote.

Winners will receive free registration for themselves and a guest to ONE: The Alltech Ideas Conference (valued at $995) and $2,000 for travel expenses. To enter a photo and read the full contest details, including the rules and regulations, visit

Registration is now open for ONE: The Alltech Ideas Conference, which draws 4,000 attendees from nearly 80 countries to network and discuss world-changing ideas.

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On-Farm Audits Improve Dairy Profitability

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When Alltech On-Farm Specialist Jeff Johnson evaluates a dairy farm, he concentrates on three specific areas – the people, the cows and the milking equipment.

Johnson said all three factors have to be integrated together for the farm to work efficiently and effectively. He said there are some challenges to maintaining equipment and the milking environment, including weather that can’t be controlled. But other factors are things farmers can impact, like cow cleanliness and comfort.

Johnson also takes into account the other people interacting with the herd, including the veterinarian, equipment dealer and nutritionist, for example, to see if there are adjustments that can be made to improve profitability.

“Are there some different things we can provide from the standpoint of the Alltech products to help them improve, whether it be gut health, which would work its way to udder health, and things that also can help them be more profitable?” said Johnson, who spoke with farmers at the 2018 World Dairy Expo.

Johnson said having a comprehensive plan in place when it comes to nutrition, cow health and equipment maintenance is vital to herd health and profitability. Those factors also play a key role in assuring high quality milk for the consumer.

Listen to Jamie’s interview with Jeff here: Interview with Jeff Johnson, Alltech

2018 World Dairy Expo Photo Album

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EDGE Dairy Cooperative Engaging in D.C.

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EDGE Dairy Cooperative has been focusing on engaging more actively for its members at the federal level, and that is happening, according to Mike Torrey with Torrey Associates.

Torrey said the cooperative has put together an effective effort in the nation’s capitol through fly in events, testimonies and social media campaigns to speak for America’s dairy farmers.

“We need to think long term,” said Torrey. “And oftentimes to win means that you just have to do the blocking and tackling day in and day out, and that hard work ultimately lays the foundation for when the opportunity in D.C. presents itself that the organization is in a good place and that their members are in a good place.”

Dairy farmers are watching trade talks and farm bill negotiations closely as they endure extremely low commodity prices for their products. Labor shortages also continue to present difficulties for dairy producers. Torrey said there do seem to be opportunities ahead with regard to global markets and farm bill provisions, and told farmers to take comfort in the fact that the cooperative is staying ahead of the curve when it comes to engagement and having a voice in Washington, D.C. Torrey was at the 2018 World Dairy Expo in Madison, Wisconsin.

Listen to Chuck’s interview with Mike here: Interview with Mike Torrey, Torrey Associates

2018 World Dairy Expo Photo Album

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Animal Ag Bites 10/15

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  • Leading dairy organizations have united to host the inaugural California Dairy Sustainability Summit on November 27-28, 2018 at the Sacramento Convention Center. For more information, visit or
  • Garrett Slavik was recently named a Vita Plus dairy specialist and will serve dairy producers in central Michigan.
  • Merck Animal Health has selected Sullivan Higdon & Sink as agency of record to help lead marketing efforts that include strategic communications and creative for their swine and cattle divisions.
  • The American Feed Industry Association’s free Feed Education Program returns for the twelfth time to the International Production & Processing Expo on Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2019.
  • USPOULTRY and the USPOULTRY Foundation announce the completion of a funded research project at the University of Georgia in Athens, Ga., in which researchers revealed a method to improve E. coli vaccines. The research was made possible in part by an endowing Foundation gift from Koch Foods and is part of the Association’s comprehensive research program encompassing all phases of poultry and egg production and processing.
  • Allflex Livestock Intelligence, an Antelliq company, announces another major collaboration with Nestlé, the world’s largest food and beverage company. As part of Nestlé’s commitment on animal welfare, it is piloting Allflex’s SenseHub solution to monitor the overall well being of cows on dairy farms in several geographic regions.
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New Deere Forage Harvesters are More Efficient

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Whether you are a beef or dairy producer, or a custom harvester, there is a new John Deere 9000 Series Self-Propelled Forage Harvester (SPFH) for you.

Chris Borgman, Deere Product Marketing Manager for Commercial Hay and Forage Products, introduced the new models at the World Dairy Expo earlier this month in Madison, Wisconsin. “What it all boils down to is quality of feed, capacity and efficiency, that is what the 9000 series is,” said Borgman.

The four models, all with final Tier 4-compliant engines include:

9600 616 hp (460 kw) (625 ps) John Deere 6 cyl. 13.5L PowerTech Engine

9700 759 hp (566 kw) (770 ps) Liebherr V12 24L Engine

9800 858 hp (640 kw) (870 ps) Liebherr V12 24L Engine

9900 957 hp (713 kw) (970 ps) Liebherr V12 24L Engine

“That’s a lot of horsepower that we are pushing through this,” Borgman said. “We are emissions compliant but we’re now much more efficient as well.” The improved performance and capabilities of the 9000 Series enable producers and custom harvesters to obtain the highest possible return on investment under narrow harvesting windows where high-capacity and high-quality feed are the goal.

Learn more from Borgman by listening to his presentation and interview here –
Presentation by Chris Borgman, John Deere

Interview with Chris Borgman, John Deere

John Deere at 2018 World Dairy Expo Photo Album

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Calf Health Vital to Farm Success

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Research trials at Hubbard’s Calf Research Facility provide important data to dairy producers on the farm. Dairy Research Nutritionist Ellan Dufour said more than 13,000 heifer calves have come through the facility, which is a partnership between Hubbard Feeds and the University of Minnesota.

“A strong calf program is one of the most important things you can do on a dairy, especially with your newborn, growing animals. Those newborns are the future success of your dairy farm,” said Dufour, who was at the 2018 World Dairy Expo.

Dufour said she’s proud to provide data to dairy farmers regarding calf health as keeping those calves healthy and growing is key. She said the team at the Calf Research Facility is technical and well managed, and the partnership with University of Minnesota faculty ensures integrity, soundness and validity of the research. The data can help farmers to implement very specific technologies into a calf diet, especially as more of the nation and the world move towards a system that would use fewer or no antibiotics.

Listen to Jamie’s interview with Ellan here: Interview with Ellan Dufour, Hubbard

2018 World Dairy Expo Photo Album

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Alltech Helps Dairy Producers Retain Employees

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Reliable and trained employees are critical for dairy producers and Alltech is prepared to help them maintain a productive labor force.

“Everything done on a dairy is done by hand,” said Alltech employee training specialist Jorge Delgado during an interview at World Dairy Expo. “We need to attract more people and try to retain people who come to work at a dairy.”

Delgado says Alltech works with dairies to help them develop a more stable and formal work environment for employees. “The modules that we built are centered around people and are very interactive,” he said. The Alltech On-farm Support program can provide customized, bilingual workshops for a dairy producer’s team.

Learn more in this interview. Interview with Alltech employee training specialist Jorge Delgado

2018 World Dairy Expo Photo Album

Content Creation from World Dairy Expo is sponsored by Content Creation from the Farm Progress Show is sponsored by Alltech  Coverage of the Farm Progress Show is sponsored by Hubbard Feeds
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