Automatic Milking

Automatic milking is becoming more and more interesting to milk producers around the world. In the next few months we will post interviews and articles about AMS milking. For the curious, but also for those of you who are already milking with robots, for benchmarking and sharing of best practices. Let us know if there is any particular subject within Automatic Milking that you would like to read more about.

Automatic Milking Systems AMS

The introduction of automatic milking affects all parts of a farm operation, not just the milking, and it is important to have a realistic picture of what to expect. Successful adoption of automatic milking depends on the management skills of the farmer as well as on the barn layout and farming conditions. Read more about changing to an AMS in the article Managing the change to Automatic Milking.

Economy

AM systems require a higher investment than conventional milking systems, but increased milk yields and savings on labour can lead to lower fixed costs per kg milk and increased margins per full-time employee FTE.

Animal health and Milk quality

Animal health and well-being is not negatively affected in an automatic milking system, no adverse effects have been found for body condition, lameness or teat condition. Milk quality is somewhat negatively affected, but not below penalty levels, and the system provides means to assure milk quality and food safety.

Read more about the development of automatic milking, the impact for the daiy farmers that adopt the new technology and the opportunities and challenges involved in this article, Automatic Milking - Common practice on dairy farms, by Kees de Koning, from Wageningen University in the Netherlands.

In the Dairy farms section milk producers from different parts of the world share their experiences of the transition from conventional to automatic milking.

Automatic Milking Rotaries AMR

Using the same automatic technology, but adapted for larger herds, an automatic milking rotary AMR was introduced on the market last year.

DeLaval's robotic milking researchers recently showcased their new automatic milking rotary for international journalists at a 415-cow dairy that has been testing the technology since 2010 in Gamleby, Sweden.  The five robot arms in the parlor – two to clean, two to attach and one to post-dip – milk 390 of the dairy's cows in a 24-stall rotary parlor. Read more about the Odenvikholm farm in this article: Swedish dairy farm shows off world's first robotic milking rotary

The Dornauf family in Tasmania will be the first commercial dairy farm using this technology.

The Laproma Farm in Schlossvippach, Germany has also signed up for an AMR. The farm is currently milking 900 cows and sees opportunities for growth. A whole new site will be set up for the DeLaval AMR and will consist of a new barn and dairy center that will be built up in two phases from 2011-2013 for an additional 800 cows. The first milking is planned for September 2012.

Read more about the automatic milking rotary on the DeLaval web site.

Read more

Selecting the right cows for your robot

Written by: Monica Wadsworth

Cows that are milked in an automatic milking system (AMS) need to be healthy and productive, with correctly placed teats and healthy feet & legs to carry them around the barn and to the robot. But is that enough? Should we also be looking for cows with the right ‘robot’ temperament? New research suggests that cows’ performance in different housing systems can depend on their temperamental traits.

Read more »

Read more

Lactating dairy cows adapt quickly to automatic milking system

Written by: Milkproduction.com staff

Transitioning a dairy herd to an automatic milking system (AMS) from a conventional parlor system may be stressful for the cow, as many changes occur during this process. Chronic stress may affect the welfare of the cow, and acute stress during milking can decrease milk yield. Therefore, it is important to quantify if and how long stress during adaptation to an AMS might persist.

Read more »

Read more

Automatic milking – Common practice on dairy farms

Written by: Kees de Koning

In this article an overview of historical development of automatic milking, as well as the current situation and perceived challenges and opportunities for future development are discussed.

Read more »

Read more

Power and water consumption of automatic milking systems

Written by: Monica Wadsworth

The Danish Advisory Center for cattle (Dansk Kvæg) made a farm test of the power and water consumption of five of the most recent AMS systems on the market.

Read more »

Read more

Details on the world's first automatic milking rotary unveiled

The DeLaval AMR™ will suit herds exceeding 300 cows, the first commercial rotaries will have a 90 cow/hour capacity, and up to five robots will simultaneously operate the system, DeLaval announced today.

Read more »

The dairy farms

Havamäki farm- Finland

The switch from a parlour to milking robot led to both less and lighter work

Read more »

Read more

Robotic Milking: Farm test - the cow's time spent in the milking robot

Published: 1/9/2012 Written by: Morten Lindgaard Jensen

Which milking robot manufacturer to choose is for many a careful evaluation based on several factors: cost, annual running costs, capacity, reliability and service options, to mention some. All parameters are important when making this kind of investment. The total time the cow stays in the milking robot affects the number of cows that can pass through the milking robot, affecting the utilization of the milking robot’s capacity. An optimal capacity utilization is important to ensure a good economy with milking robots.

Read more »

Read more

Pros and cons of automatic milking in Europe

Written by: Milkproduction.com staff

During the last several decades, new milking management systems have been introduced, of which development of automatic milking (AM) systems is a significant step forward. In Europe, AM has become an established management system and has shown to be much more than milking management. Factors such as milking, milk quality, feeding, cow traffic, grazing, and animal behavior are essential elements of AM. This system offers possibilities for more frequent milking and can be adapted to lactational stage. Increased milk yield with AM has been observed, but lack of increased production has also been reported from the field, probably due to less attention paid to the total management system.

Read more »

Read more

Managing the change to automatic milking

Written by: Monica Wadsworth

An AMS affects all parts of a farm operation, not just the milking, and it is important to have a realistic picture of what to expect. Only a small proportion of the 10,000 AMS installations worldwide have been unsuccessful to date. Failures are due mostly to unrealistic expectations of the technology and the impact that it will have on farm labour, lifestyle and business.

Read more »

The dairy farms

Van de Hoef - Netherlands

"Dairy farming is a pleasure with the VMS", say Herman and Lya Van de Hoef from Netherlands. "Everything is more flexible now. We can plan cleaning and maintenance much more freely."

Read more »

The dairy farms

Giulieta Farm - Italy

Investing in milking robots and biogas plant - twin prospects for the future

Read more »

Author

Monica Wadsworth

Monica Wadsworth
85 articles

Writer at Milkproduction.com

Read more »

Milkproduction.com

Milkproduction.com

Interview

Automatic Milking Systems in North America

Thorough planning and research, willingness to adapt your management style and ability to trust the system to milk your cows without your active involvement are all necessary if you want to make a successful transition to automatic milking, Mark Futcher, Marketing Manager - Automatic Milking for DeLaval Inc., North America shares his experience and gives his advice.

Read more »

AMS farm interviews - courtesy of DeLaval

Svend-Erik Nielsen, Denmark - 400 cows, 4 VMS

Morten Nielsen, Denmark - 190 cows, 3 VMS

Marcus Kraft, Sweden - 220 cows, 3 VMS

More DeLaval videos here

DeLaval web site