Almost every day, we see how technology disrupts all kinds of industries, from manufacturing to transportation. In many ways, innovative technologies can bring both good and bad news for the industries that they affect. Dairy farming is no different.
Typically, people assume that technology in dairy farming is aimed at improving output and productivity. While that is indeed true, there are also many new techs aimed at supporting dairy farm operations in more indirect ways.
A perfect example of this is surveillance camera technology on dairy farms. That tech has come a long way since the days of wired closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras used to monitor cows. Now, there’s night vision, drones, thermal imaging, and more to consider.
In this article, we’re going to explore the importance of surveillance cameras on a dairy farm. By the end of it, you’ll see how cameras contribute to more efficient dairy farm operations and how that might benefit yours as well.
Let’s get started.
Critical Developments in Surveillance Technology
Before discussing how the use of surveillance cameras applies to dairy farms, it’s crucial to understand how the equipment itself has evolved over the years. Here are just a few key developments that are of great benefit to dairy farms, small and large.
Higher Definition and Digital Recording
Gone are the days of blurry camera footage recorded on VHS tapes. These days, surveillance cameras can record beyond 1080p and 4k resolutions, giving you full visibility of whatever your camera picks up. Better yet, they record in digital formats, so you’ll never lose the footage.
Night Vision and Thermal Imaging
Cameras have also become much more effective at seeing in low-light conditions (i.e., ‘night vision), and they can also pick up heat signatures as well. Features like these allow you to monitor dairy cows for injury and sickness, day or night.
Improved Mobility and Reach
Drone technology and surveillance technology have both improved over the years, especially when combining the two.
For a dairy farmer, owning a surveillance drone means having eyes and ears (they have microphones, too) on any corner of your property without having to leave the comfort of your office.
How Surveillance Cameras Benefit Dairy Farmers
Surveillance cameras have become a crucial part of dairy farms’ day-to-day operations because of the benefits they offer. They benefit farmers in terms of safety and security, herd monitoring, dairy operations monitoring, and even biosecurity.
Safety And Security
Dairy farms face two unique challenges. Firstly, they house plenty of costly equipment and supplies, not to mention loads of fresh milk as well! Second, all of the buildings and animals are usually spread out far and wide. These two factors combined make it tough to monitor and protect the farm in terms of safety and security, protecting against theft, fires, and intruders.
Dairy farmers would be wise to set up cameras around fuel pumps, milk storage facilities, and any areas that hold items of value. Those cameras aren’t just essential to catch perpetrators after the fact, but they’re also crucial to prevent them from happening at all.
Just by having them on the property, surveillance cameras act as a deterrent. Cameras and warning signs go a long way to discourage would-be criminals from attempting to do anything illegal on the dairy farm.
Fire And Other Hazards
Fuel and other chemicals pose a significant threat to human and animal life, as well as property. By keeping an eye on storage facilities, dairy farmers will minimize damage from fires or spills caused by these supplies.
Monitoring For Intruders
Whether it’s adventurous youth looking to tip some cows over, or thieves looking for a lucrative payday, intruders pose a great threat to the farm and its operations. Just like with theft prevention mentioned earlier, surveillance cameras are essential to act as eyes and ears all over the property.
Even if you take security matters into your own hands, you can’t be everywhere at all times. That’s where security cameras can be of great benefit to you.
Safety and security matters aside, surveillance cameras are essential for keeping an eye on the dairy farm’s primary assets: the cows themselves. Depending on how widespread the farm might be, you’re going to need an extra set of eyes to help you monitor the herd as they roam.
Static surveillance cameras can be of great help, but you’ll get much more flexibility with cameras mounted on drones. With these kinds of surveillance cameras, you can fly your drone to all corners of the property to keep an eye on your animals.
What’s more, drone surveillance cameras are also improving quickly in terms of automation. It’s not that hard to find drones that can ‘stalk’ your herds with little or no input from you.
Dairy Operations Monitoring
Of course, managing a dairy farm operation consists more of just feeding and milking cows. The bigger your operation, the more employees you have under you.
In this context, surveillance cameras are crucial the same way they’d be for any other kind of employer. Cameras in the correct places will allow you to keep an eye on your employees to ensure they’re working when they should and not doing things they shouldn’t.
With a surveillance camera system in place, dairy farms can easily hold their staff members accountable for their actions while they’re on the clock.
In the context of a dairy farm, biosecurity means preventing the spread of disease among animals. But how does a surveillance camera system help with this?
Well, close surveillance with cameras will allow you to visually identify animals that show symptoms of disease or even physical injury. You can further bolster this capability using cameras armed with thermal imaging technology.
Just like humans, cows suffering from sickness will often have higher body temperatures as a physical response. Thermal imaging cameras will make this increased temperature easy to spot, especially since you won’t have to inspect each animal in the herd one at a time.
With easy identification, dairy farmers can isolate and treat sick animals quickly without jeopardizing the rest of the herd.
Some farmers might be reluctant to invest in a camera surveillance system for their farms. But ask any farmer who has already tried such systems for themselves, and they’ll swear by its benefits. With camera systems becoming cheaper with time, there’s less and less of an excuse not to have one on your dairy farm.