Hitting the Bullseye: Ag Innovation and Milk Production

Producing milk is not easy. Cows produce milk once pregnant, but cows are in heat for just a few hours each month, making pregnancy a narrow target. So, if you have a herd of 1,000 cows, timing insemination for each of them isn’t just tough, it’s nearly impossible. When humans miss a heat, they avoid spending $250k over 18 years. But when a dairy farm misses a heat, it is at least $300 per cow per year in lost income. Make cows, not love.

While we are drinking less of it in the U.S., milk is a tremendously important and growing source of protein around the world. Proof? China’s raw milk consumption nearly quadrupled from 2000 to 2006, and today the country is now the world’s third-largest producer, Globally, milk demand is going up by about 3% per year, or by about 23.1 billion liters every year.

Let’s do the math. That means we need 7.9 million more cows delivering milk next year, or 151,000 cow pregnancies each week. On average, farmers miss at least 50% of the heats each month, and there are an estimated 264 million dairy cows in the world and each missed heat costs the dairy farmer ~$111. Assuming that 20% of these dairy cows are in heat every year, this problem costs global dairy farmers almost $3 billion per year.

So what technology is out there to solve this problem… here’s what we’re seeing: Ag Innovation