Speaking from an evolutionary standpoint humans and holsteins have long been separated for thousands of years, however recent technology advancements in diabetes have proven quite the opposite. Dairy scientists have found a link between humans who suffer from diabetes and transitioning holstein cattle who acquire a disease called subclinical ketosis. With this in mind scientists believe that they can aid diary farmers with labour intensive processes with a small hand held device much like the one diabetes patients use.
Although the science behind the technology is quite advanced, it is interesting to note that the meters used by diabetics detect ketones in the blood, which is similar to subclinical ketosis where cows have elevated ketone levels and depleting glucose stores. German researches have been successful with 2 trials to date that monitor on farm BHBA (beta-hydroxybutyrate) to detect if the levels exceed the set thresholds. More research needs to be done to perfect the process for on farm usage, but producers should see signs of a usable product by next year.
Personally I believe that dairy researchers have come up with a wonderful product! Farmers are continuously in need of fast and precise results to run their operations and this handy device gives them just that. The meters are all part of a precision management innovation theme that will help dairy producers to incorporate new technologies to run more efficient operations. As with any new technology there are apprehensions about the product and the results it gives. Coming from a dairy farm background, I know first hand that farmers are generally skeptical about incorporating these new technologies in their system. More times than not you can hear a farmer express his opinion as “why change old habits that still work?” The real selling factor that the industry needs to push is that these devices will improve on farm efficiency, ultimately resulting in less time and money spent on sick cows. Saving money and time is something that every dairy farmer should capitalize on!