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

Kent cuts utility payment penalty

Dropped from 10 per cent to one per cent

Shots fired in Abbotsford, but no victims or suspects found

Incident occurs Tuesday afternoon at Whatcom and Old Yale roads

Sugar Fairy sweetens someone’s day

Anonymous person gifts local with long-sought sugar

Family medicine still available just different in the age of COVID-19

Local health officials send reminder that doctors are still providing care, by phone or video chat

B.C. couple celebrates 61st anniversary through seniors’ home window

Frank and Rena Phillips marked occasion at Nanaimo Seniors Village this week while social distancing

A look at some of the B.C. inventors creating life-saving tools in fight against COVID-19

Groups across B.C. are working together to create what they hope will help people affected by the pandemic

Association launches French-language games, online tools for families learning at home

Games, culture and vocabulary included in new virtual resources

‘There can be no ambiguity’: Travellers brought home to B.C. must self-isolate

Health Minister Adrian Dix said the mandatory isolation must be abided by

COVID-19: Fraser Valley crafters are busy sewing cotton masks for health-care workers and others

One Chilliwack woman has made 125 masks so far, and is still going strong

55+ BC Games cancelled amid COVID-19 concerns

Greater Victoria set to host 2021 event

BC Hydro offers three-month bill ‘holiday’ for those affected by COVID-19

Industrial customers can defer half of their power bills

VIDEO: Dog missing in Lower Mainland since winter sees his family again for the first time

Aldergrove helped find Buster, says dad, who has now witnessed ‘the power of social media’

Some April Fool’s Day jokes bring much-needed laughter; others tone deaf to COVID-19

Police are warning the public not to use the ongoing pandemic as a punchline

Most Read