How high-tech is integrated into the Israeli dairy industry

May 5, 2017
Dairy cows at a barn. Credit: Volcani Center (Enlarge)
Dairy cows at a barn. Credit: Volcani Center

Self-driving cars. Drip irrigation. Missile defense. Milk? Amid all the buzz around Israel’s “start-up nation,” including Intel’s recent $15 billion acquisition of Mobileye, a lesser-known phenomenon is the high-tech and hyper-efficient Israeli dairy industry.

Surprised? Don’t be. The combination of Israelis’ high demand for dairy products and the Jewish state’s well-documented ingenuity makes the cutting-edge dairy industry a natural development in what the Bible describes as a “land flowing with milk and honey.”

 

Milk production in Israel is carried out under a quota system that exists in only two other nations—Canada and Norway. “In case of an increase or expected increase in the demand for milk products, the Dairy Board lifts the quota…The Dairy Board advises the farmers, considering the expected high demand for holidays and summer months, allowing the farmers to plan and get organized accordingly,” says Dr. Ephraim Maltz, a senior researcher emeritus at the Volcani Center, the Israeli Ministry of Agriculture’s research arm . Demand is particularly high for Shavuot (marked May 30-June 1 this year), when eating dairy is a holiday tradition. 

 

With the government’s support, Israeli farmers have learned to breed cows by better utilizing the natural environment, despite the nation’s arid climate and chronic water shortages. The farmers’ methods include feeding cows with recycled natural foods, using recycled water to grow fodder and reusing manure in agriculture. Several delegations from other countries have visited Israel to learn from these techniques. To obtain the necessary metrics, a majority of Israel’s dairy cows are “equipped with electronic individual identification, and almost all the milking parlors are equipped with electronic milk meters,” Maltz says. Most Israeli dairy farms use electronic methods to detect a cow’s estrous cycle—the reproductive cycle of mammals such as cows—“by using individual cow activity as an indication for insemination time,” he says. Special sensors measure cows’ daily body weight and milk composition for protein, fat, lactose and more. Many farmers also measure daily rumination and eating times.

 

For the full article By : Alina Dain Sharon For JNS Click Here 

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