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

Just Posted

Agassiz, Harrison organizations receive more than $140K in gaming grants

Grants will go to support local sports, arts groups for the 2019-20 fiscal year

Brother of Chilliwack homicide victim killed in Surrey on Remembrance Day

Andrew Baldwin shot on Nov. 11, three weeks after Keith Baldwin shot in downtown Chilliwack

Volunteer organization provides first aid and rescue services

Main fundraiser, the Winter Extreme Ski and Board Swap, takes place at Abbotsford Exhibition Park Nov. 16 and 17

Highway 1 crash in Langley slowing traffic

Accident happened at 232nd Street and has left one car on the right shoulder

Local researcher hopes history can uncover an identity for Harrison

Veronique Astles believes Harrison has more history to uncover than just the resort

VIDEO: Agassiz, Harrison honour Remembrance Day

The annual ceremony took place at AESS, followed by a moment of silence at the Agassiz cenotaph

B.C. First Nation Chief Ed John faces historic sex charges

John served as minister for children and families under then-premier Ujjah Dosanjh

Nearly half of B.C. drivers nervous in winter conditions: BCAA

‘Wait and see’ approach common practice for 32% of B.C. motorists

Yelling at your dog might hurt its long-term mental health: study

Researchers find dogs trained using negative reinforcement are more ‘pessimistic’

At least 3 hurt in California school shooting, gunman sought

Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department looking for a male suspect in black clothing was seen at the location

Transgender inmate in Surrey denied transfer to women’s prison

Petitioner argued denial of transfer to women’s prison was unreasonable and unfair

Community uses loophole to paint 16 rainbow crosswalks after B.C. council says no

So far 11 rainbows are painted and five planned, all since council denied the first proposal in September

Adoption centre closes despite effort to save it; B.C. left with two agencies

Choices Adoption and Pregnancy Counselling in Victoria was set to close in April

Most Read