Assistive Technology Spotlight: Dairy Barn Modifications

June is National Dairy Month!

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National Dairy Month started out as National Milk Month in 1937 as a way to promote drinking milk. It was initially created to stabilize the dairy demand when production was at a surplus, but has now developed into an annual tradition that celebrates the contributions the dairy industry has made to the world.

National Dairy Month is a great way to start the summer with nutrient-rich dairy foods. From calcium to potassium, dairy products like milk contain nine essential nutrients which may help to better manage your weight, reduce your risk for high blood pressure, osteoporosis and certain cancers. Whether its protein to help build and repair the muscle tissue of active bodies or vitamin A to help maintain healthy skin, dairy products are a natural nutrient powerhouse.

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Did you know there are roughly 350 “squirts” in a gallon of milk? Learn more fun facts about dairy farming!


Pennsylvania is known for its many dairy farms and many of the farms AgrAbility visits are indeed dairy farms.
Most often when assessing a dairy farm the modifications are most needed in the milking routine. It can be difficult and challenging to modify this task, but in a tie stall or stanchion barn there are two great options. For individuals with a wide range of disabilities or health conditions, a rail system and automatic takeoffs can make a huge difference!  

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Rail system: this system acts as carrier for the milking units and allows for the use of automatic takeoffs. With this system the farmer does not have to carry or lift the milking units. The units run on the overhead track from the milk house to the stalls where the cows are milked. The units can be easily attached to the milk pipeline and attached to the cow while the weight is still held by the rail. This reduces the wear and tear on the individual’s back and shoulders.

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Automatic takeoffs: with the rail system, automatic takeoffs can be installed. Automatic takeoffs release the milking unit from the udder of the cow when she is done milking. The unit is also pulled up and away from the cow, ready to be moved along the rail to the next cow. This reduces the amount of squatting and bending that is required to check the cow and remove the milking unit. A conservative estimate shows that automatic takeoffs can eliminate 100 times squatting or bending per day. That really adds up over time and can conserve joints.

Farmers often hesitate at the thought of changing the way they have milked their whole life, and the logistics and finances can also cause some stress. However, many AgrAbility clients who modify their milking routine share that they wish they wouldn’t have waited so long before making the change! These modifications are truly some great pieces of assistive technology.

Sign-up for AgrAbility PA’s e-newsletter for monthly farming tips, information about assistive technology, and to read about AgrAbility clients in action! Email agrability@psu.edu

 

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