Dairyman Mack Drees: Biting off technology, one big chunk at a time


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In this episode, you’ll hear from Wisconsin dairy farmer Mack Drees of Drees Dairy Farm. Mack is the “cow guy” on his family dairy. When he came home from college, the dairy needed to expand but didn’t want to have to manage more people. They decided to milk with robots in their new expansion.

Mack talks about whether he thinks it’s better to bite off a whole bunch of technology at once when going with robots or if staged adoption of technology is preferable. He also gives his answer as to whether the activity monitoring has paid for itself more in repro improvements or if cow health improvements for his registered Holstein herd are returning more of an investment.

This podcast was recorded during the 2022 National Holstein Convention in South Dakota this past summer. Mack was a participant on the Data and Innovation Summit producer panel. Listen to that panel here.

Here is a breakdown of the episode:

  • Tell us about your farm. [~1:45]
  • Give us your experience transitioning your farm to milking robots. [~3:00]
  • If you had to do it over again, would you stairstep into technology or make a big leap into it all at one time? Why? [~5:00]
  • How long did it take for cows to get used to the robots? [~6:45]
  • At what age do you put your activity monitors on? [~9:00]
  • Explain your experience of using activity monitoring to dial in optimum breeding time. [~10:00]
  • In what ways is technology already providing a payback on your farm? [~11:15]
  • Do you think you get more of a payback from activity monitoring on the health or repro side of your farm? [~14:15]
  • In your opinion, how can farmers best utilize sort gates with monitoring? [~15:45]
  • Talk about how you do regular milk testing with your robots. [~19:45]
  • Explain your farm’s three-pronged approach to evaluating technology. [~25:00]
  • Describe how activity monitoring quantified the value of treatment vs. prevention. [~31:00]
  • What’s a decision you need to make in the upcoming months? [~33:30]

Follow Drees Dairy Farm online:


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