The cattle industry was beefed up at the Alberta Beef Producers Media Tour on Aug. 20.
The ABP came together with Alberta Milk to give those involved in the media an opportunity to get a closer look at Alberta’s cattle industry and gain a basic understanding.
There are more than 30,000 beef cattle producers and 662 dairy producers in the province.
The media tour began in Ponoka at Vold, Jones and Vold Auction Mart Inc. and gave journalists a firsthand look into the cattle auction. Journalists were led throughout the building and given information at each different stop of the tour.
Journalists were then taken to Hendrik de Gier’s dairy farm where they were shown the voluntary milking system (VMS) a new laser robotic milking system that the de Giers have pioneered in Alberta.
The de Gier’s have two robots for their operation and have been using it for about two years.
The VMS, de Gier says, makes milking more comfortable for the cows because they decide when they want to be milked and it also has relieved him of some labour and possibly increased production.
“You don’t have to be in the barn milking every time,” said de Gier. “Production has gone up but it’s hard to tell if that is from the robot or if it’s from other changes that we have been making.”
One robot can milk up to 62 to 65 cows each day and de Gier says that he can get 33 L a day from each cow with an average of 12 L per milking.
The VMS is becoming more common in Alberta and there are currently about three or four of them in the province.
The tour then continued and ended at the Kamps dairy operation in Lacombe.