Markus Flukiger (pictured) and wife Andrea gace a tour of Agassiz Goat Dairy on Else Road. Submitted/Susan Spaeti

Kent farm tour shows off new technology

Automated milking, feeding among advances

Cow-milking, goat feeding robots and other farming technologies wowed members of District of Kent council and the Ministry of Agriculture on a local farm tour Nov. 21.

Local farms showed off high-tech farming equipment during the tour, showing how modern technology advances are integrated into an age-old profession.

District of Kent councillor Duane Post is also chair of the Kent Agriculture Advisory Committee. He says the tour was a chance to see some of the ways the farming industry is evolving.

“Farmers are often kind of stuck in the barn so it’s a good opportunity to get the committee out…view other farms to see what they’re doing and how farms are changing as time goes on.”

At the Duncan family’s Bonnie Donne Dairy, the tour got to see the fully-automated “Lely” cow-milking robot in action.

According to its website, the “Lely Astronaut” does more than automatic milking. It collects individual cow data on milk production and health, alerting farmers to any changes.

The Vander Hoek family displayed Hoek Holstein’s six “GEA” cow-milking robots on the tour.

Post says this type of milking-aide robotics has been used across Europe for a number of years but only recently became popular in Canada.

“At least half of the new installations that go in, for milking cows…are robots,” he says.

Agassiz Goat Dairy displayed a different type of technology. Instead of a robot that milks the goats, Markus and Andrea Flükiger’s robots feed their animals.

Controlled through a computer program, the machine follows a metal strip on the concrete, measuring the amount of feed each goat has left to determine if more is needed. It then travels along the metal strip, gets more feed and returns to feed the goat accordingly.

“It’s always measuring, going around the barn and seeing who needs to be fed next,” Posts says, adding that these types of automating technologies change routines and labour demands for farmers.

“It’s hard to find people who want to come to your farm at four in the morning to milk cows or feed goats,” Post says. “But you don’t need to be there at four in the morning anymore.”

Technology, he says, is changing everything.

“Technology is utilized in every industry…people are using technology to alleviate that menial labour.”

“I think that’s how it’s changing farming,” Post adds. “Making the hours a little bit better and making the work more meaningful.”

Mike Duncan gave a tour of his farm Bonnie Donne Dairy Farm in Harrison Mills. Submitted/Susan Spaeti

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Vancouver double homicide leads to arrest in Harrison Hot Springs Wednesday

VPD and RCMP tracked dumped vehicle connected to killings to Chilliwack

Ride for cancer in Langley will take place Sunday, despite COVID-19

Annual fundraiser will be ‘really different,’ but classic cars are expected, organizer promises

Multiple accidents slowing westbound Highway 1 traffic

3 accidents in Langley, Abbotsford within 30 minutes

Exercise and cancer to be explored via webinar

UFV’s Dr. Iris Lesser to lead Zoom event for cancer patients and supporters

B.C. identifies 20 new COVID-19 cases, travellers specified in count

Pandemic total 3,028 cases, 51 people from outside Canada

Canadian policing organization calls for decriminalization of simple illicit drug possession

Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police want policing focus of opioid crisis to be replaced with a health one

Filing deadline in RCMP sexual-harassment class-action extended due to COVID-19

Plaintiffs now have until January 2021 to submit claims for up to $222,000

Jamie Bacon pleads guilty to charge in Surrey Six case

The plea brings an end to a complex legal case that has spanned more than a decade

Hefty undeclared driver charges piling up, ICBC warns customers

Average extra penalty $2,971 after an at-fault accident

Survey, hotline launched amid probe into racist blood-alcohol guessing game at B.C. hospital

Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond has been appointed to lead an investigation by Health Minister Adrian Dix

B.C. appeals judge’s decision to leave three clubhouses in Hells Angels hands

The province has filed two notices of appeal related to the B.C. Supreme Court decision

Conservation officers relocate Spirit bear known to roam northwestern B.C.

Bear roamed valley north of Terrace for many years

B.C. premier applauds call to decriminalize drug possession

Police shouldn’t struggle with health issues, Horgan says

Most Read