Manitoba Farm Women - Carla Plett

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FarmFemmes introduced you to Carla Plett this summer. We asked her to come back for another feature this week to talk about how robotic technology has changed the dairy industry. She works with her family at Rumardale Holsteins Ltd. in southeastern Manitoba where they milk around 350 Holsteins on seven Lely robots.

1. How does the introduction of robots impact animal health/welfare?

Robots have many benefits when it comes to animal health and welfare. Since robots remove the human interaction during milking there is more consistency in the way the animals are prepped and milked which ultimately leads to better udder health in the herd. Robots also have the ability to pick out possible sick cows before we may notice anything physical wrong with the cow. Having robots also allows the animals to be milked on their own time.  Another benefit to have robots is being able to customize our robot ration and high moisture corn to each individual cow so each cow can be feed according to their production level.


2. How does the introduction of robots impact record keeping?

In terms of what record keeping we use a combination of Lely's T4C and Dairy Comp (DHI) to keep tract of our herd.  Dairy Comp is our main way of keeping records of our herd but T4C gives us in-time data on each cow for daily management.

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Lely in Action

Display shows cow number, amount of feed, status of each milking quarter and duration of last visit.

3. How does the introduction of robots change the human work in a dairy operation?

Having robots does not reduce your time in the barn like some might think, but it allows your schedule to be more flexible. Robots let you spend the time you would have used for milking to focus on other areas of the barn and herd that you may not have had time for previously.



4. What advice would you give to someone who is thinking about switching to robotic milking?

Based on our experience with our herd, if you are considering switching over don't wait - it is well worth the investment!  Since moving over to robots our production and overall cow comfort have increased tremendously.  But it is important to remember that robots should be used as a management tool and that a robot does not replace a herdsman.

Ag Inspiration: Carla Plett | Rumardale Holsteins | Manitoba

There are so many different kinds of agriculture, and so many inspiring women we have met since starting FarmFemmes.  This week we want to share some of these great women and stories with you!  

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We met Carla at a lunch with Manitoba Women in Agriculture and Food.  When she started sharing about her family's dairy, and the 10 year plan that led to the transition to a robotic parlor, we were amazed.  When she pulled out her phone and could take a look at production, we knew she was someone we wanted to know more about!  Below is her answers to our 5 quick Ag Inspiration questions.

1. How long have you been involved with Ag?

 Since growing up on our dairy farm I don't remember there ever being a day were I wasn't involved with agriculture and a I plan to hopefully keep it that way.  

2.  What type of ag are you involved with? (Dairy, beef, ranch, cropland, ag industry etc.)

I am primarily involved in the dairy industry as a our family owns a dairy farm in southeastern Manitoba where we are milking 350 Holsteins on 7 robots.

3. What's your favorite ag memory?
I think one of my favorite ag memories would be our start up day when we officially moved over from our parlor milking system to the new robots.  What made the day so memorable was the amount of people that volunteered to help us out everyone from friends and family, neighboring farmers, past employees and sales reps.  It was awesome to see everyone come together and share the experience.  

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4.  What inspires you about ag?

I think one of top things that inspires me about ag it the amount of technological advances that have been made to help improve production and labor efficiency at the farm level.


5.  How do you agvocate (social media, memberships, networks, alumni groups, young farmers groups, boards etc.)?
I do my best to agvocate through my social media whether that posting an ag related photo on instagram or sharing facts, stories, or important news relating to agriculture on facebook.  But I think just talking to people is probably how i agvocate the most, for example most of my friends don't come from a agriculture background so whenever they have questions about something they saw or heard on social media etc.. they will often ask me about it and I'm more than happy to answer questions or maybe give some more information which they can take and pass on to the next person.

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Global Big Data Conference: Precision Ag

It's presentation day @ the Global Big Data Conference on Artificial Intelligence!  One of my favorite videos is today's because I just read this fun stat in the January, 2018 issue of Canola Digest that only 15% of farmers are using precision agriculture.  

This video shows how Deer Creek Farms of Morden, Manitoba got started in Precision Agriculture, and the results it had on the 2017 Canola harvest.  If you enjoy the video, please share it on Facebook or Twitter.  If you have your own precision ag story that you'd be willing to share with us please comment below or send us an e-mail.