By Eric Bosveld – Senior Advisor, Agribusiness & Agrifood
Earlier this month, I had a chance to attend the World Dairy Expo in Madison, Wisconsin. With over 700 exhibitors, there certainly were a lot of new products, services and tools on display for commercial dairy producers. A couple key “take-homes” are outlined below.
Sometimes, the biggest barriers facing a dairy producer’s ability to grow is access to clean, potable water and/or the handling of the large amounts of manure in an environmentally responsible manner. I was informed at the event that a high-producing dairy cow drinks approximately 100 liters of fresh water, and produces over 60 kg (132 lbs) of manure slurry per day. In response to these circumstances, several companies that were present at the event offer innovative solutions, e.g., products that separate manure liquids from solids to produce useful byproducts. In some cases, the water extracted is so clean that it can be reused as drinking water for the herd, or at the very least can be used as wash water or for irrigation.
One of the other interesting themes that seemed to permeate throughout the trade show is the pending Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD), which will highly restrict antibiotics used in feed. While the phase-out trend has been underway for some time, this initiative seems to be driving the promotion of new vaccines, innovative feed additives (e.g., probiotics) and even technology such as sophisticated ventilation systems to improve air quality and therefore herd health.
Overall, the World Dairy Expo was a great show, and I hope to attend again next year.