“Difficult” was the word many of our judges used when selecting the “Top 10” entries in this year’s Dairy Herd Management Innovation Awards program.

 The judges – including farmers, academia and industry representatives across all geographic regions of the country – evaluated 55 entries, all introduced since World Dairy Expo of last year. Winners were announced at a special Dairy Herd Management World Dairy Expo 2014 reception. Our People’s Choice award winner, selected in a separate online voting, will be announced in the November issue of Dairy Herd Management.

These new products may provide a hint of where we are going, and also a look into the areas where dairy producers want further exploration. Whether its milk, manure, heat detection, fever, money or mycotoxins, these products represent a broad range of innovation, and a sign our suppliers will continue to innovate to make dairy farm life and management better.

The 10 honorees of our fourth annual contest, in no particular order:

Moisture Tracker
Digi-Star LLC partners with others to create instant dry matter readings

The Moisture Tracker is a hand-held, near-infrared (NIR) scanning device which provides near instantaneous dry matter (DM) and moisture readings. The Moisture Tracker offers an affordable, on-farm solution to quickly and accurately measure the DM and moisture content of both inbound and stored feed. That information enables livestock producers and their nutritionists to quickly react to changes in DM, ensuring the ration delivered matches the ration calculated, and providing more consistent rations with the goal of improving productivity, herd health and profitability. The Moisture Tracker is manufactured by Digi-Star with feedstuff calibrations developed by Rock River Lab. Valley Ag Software (VAS) markets a private label version of the Moisture Tracker under the trade name ChemWatch. It was first available for pre-sale at last year’s World Dairy Expo. For more information: https://digi-star.com/solutions/2-13/Moisture_Tracker

NCharge™ Hygiene Production System featuring IntelliBlend™ Technology
GEA Farm Technologies helps farmers create their own hygiene solutions

If you want to create your own hygiene products, the new NCharge system launching this fall can help you create an on-farm cleaning product plant. The system incorporates an electrolytic cell and, through an electrochemical activation process, creates an extremely active germicidal solution called NCharge™ Concentrate. NCharge™ Concentrate can be diluted or blended with unique additives to create a wide range of cleaning and sanitizing products. IntelliBlend™ Technology is the blending station which combines NCharge™ Concentrate and water with unique and exclusive NCharge™ teat dip additives to produce ready-to-use (RTU) products for pre- and post-dipping. The NCharge™ Hygiene Production System eliminates the costly shipping of water, and the number of containers being shipped, reducing waste. Many farms see up to 50% in cost savings compared to traditional chemical purchases. For more information: www.gea-farmtechnologies.com/US/EN/

Nutrient Separation System
McLanahan Corporation’s new system separates byproducts from manure, resulting in 50% clean water

The McLanahan Nutrient Separation System is engineered as a flexible and robust process tailored to meet each producer’s manure management goals and objectives. The system addresses three of the most significant challenges facing the industry: water quality and use; nutrient management; and the potential for odor generation. Designed to reduce the cost and liability associated with manure management, the system separates nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium from the manure stream. By removing water and concentrating the nutrients, there is less water to haul to fields, greatly reducing road hauling issues and material handling costs. Separated clean water can then be land irrigated, re-used or even discharged into a water source. For information via video: http://bit.ly/YYnWrG

Dairy Margin Tracker
Dairy Enterprise Optimization Systems provides a better estimate of daily IOFC

Dairy Margin Tracker makes it easy to track daily income over feed cost (IOFC). Using lab results from your milk processor, Dairy Margin Tracker breaks your daily production down into gross pounds of milk, butterfat and protein. Daily income is the daily yield of each milk component multiplied by the published market price for the respective component. Using daily feed costs from on-farm feed management software, Dairy Margin Tracker calculates a per-head perday feed cost. This daily feed cost is then plotted against daily income to graph the IOFC margin. As a nutrition company, DEOS realized clients had a fear of “buying milk” – spending more on feed, but not netting more income. Two years ago they started developing tools to begin to track actual farm IOFC. For more information: www.dairyeos.com

MooMonitor+
Dairymaster USA Inc. improves on original design with added rumination measures

The MooMonitor+ monitors the cow’s neck movements for activity related to heats, resting, rumination, feeding, lameness, head position and restlessness. Measurements are taken every 15 minutes, giving real-time behavior information to quickly identify potential illness or other factors requiring management attention. This technology gives the producer a tool to help manage their herd for animal well-being, health and reproductive performance. The MooMonitor+ is the next generation of activity meters, using cloud-based data storage, Near Field Communication (NFC) and a mobile app that allows two-way interaction with the system (e.g., cow management and insemination events can be entered immediately, removing the need to go back to the computer). For information via video: www.youtube.com/watch?v=bYuTA5Kv2dk#t=13

IVET calving and fever alert
Quidee breaks into U.S. market with calving and fresh cow monitor that alerts your phone

If you spend nights waking up to check whether or not cows are calving, the IVET calving and fever alert monitor could be for you. Looking similar to a CIDR, IVET has photo and temperature sensors, alerting you via phone call or text message when a cow is calving. Up to 10 transmitters can be linked to a single receiver. Multiple receivers can be operated in parallel. The early detection can assist producers dealing with dystocia or other birthing challenges. After calving, the device can be used as a fever monitor, allowing producers to identify potential transition cow illnesses. For more information: www.birth-monitoring.com

Availa® Plus
Zinpro Corporation combats hairy heel warts

Availa-Plus contains a combination of complexed zinc, manganese, copper and cobalt, plus potassium iodide to enhance the animal’s ability to resist digital dermatitis. Built on a unique, patented molecule that consists of one metal ion bound to a single amino acid – called a metal amino acid complex – the trace minerals are highly bioavailable and easily absorbed by the animal to deliver their full benefit. When fed in conjunction with the specific formula for non-lactating animals only, research has shown that the minerals found in Availa-Plus help provide protection against digital dermatitis. For more information: www.zinpro.com/products/availa-line/availa-plus

37+ Mycotoxin Analysis Program
Alltech helps to find and eliminate mycotoxins

Alltech’s 37+ program provides a tailored, species-specific risk assessment of feedstuffs and their expected impact on animal performance based on the mycotoxins found during analysis. Using an improved liquid chromatography/ mass spectrometry method, the 37+ program analyzes for multiple mycotoxins in a given feed sample, calculating the risk equivalent quantity (risk factor multiplied by the quantity of mycotoxin) for that particular feedstuff. It considers the sample as a whole, testing for multiple mycotoxins simultaneously, and takes into account their synergistic and additive effects. The program also provides tailored recommendations and mitigation strategies through balanced nutrition, feed management and the inclusion of an integrated mycotoxin management program. For more information: www.knowmycotoxins.com

AfiMilk MCS
Afimilk Ltd. creates diversion system to produce two products from one udder

If your milk heads anywhere other than fluid milk as its final destination, the AfiMilk MCS can help both producers and processors. This real-time, optical milk-component analyzer measures fat, protein, lactose, coagulation properties and other key characteristics. Milk is classified in real-time during milking, and can diverted to two different tanks: one with milk optimized for cheese production; and another for other dairy products. By sorting, AfiMilk MCS facilitates milk supply chain optimization, provides higher value to processors by enhancing cheese production, providing higher yields, shorter cheese clotting time and reducing whey disposal. Processors can then pay premium prices for milk. For information via video: www.youtube.com/watch?v=j29v0vp0Ra8

Fresh Cow Manager
Behavioral Response Technologies uses vibration to enhance a cow’s neurology

Through nervous system stimulation, Fresh Cow technology enhances several cow bodily functions that naturally improve health, increase feed conversion and drive milk production before any injectables are necessary. The patent pending technology takes advantage of the science of neurology to change animal behavior. A gentle pain-free vibration of the tail during the first 3 weeks post freshening sends signals to the brain that trigger increased activity. This increased activity includes trips to the feed bunk and water trough. The system can enhance activity throughout the day, boosting trips to the feedbunk between trips to the milking parlor. By getting post-fresh cows to eat more, these devices expand the rumen faster, restore energy balance faster, and have been shown to increase milk production by well over 10% for the full lactation.For more information: www.behavioralresponsetechnologies.com