Thursday, December 15, 2016
Robotic dairy farms.
This is the future of agriculture,as the largest robotic dairy farm in Michigan will go online in 2017. DeLaval International, a large Swedish producer of dairy and other farming equipment, is installing 24 robotic voluntary—meaning the cows approach the stations on their own—milking machines at TDI Farms LLC of Westphalia that will be able to milk 1,500 cows. The new system will be operational sometime next year (no firm date has been set yet), according to Muhieddine Labban, solution manager of automatic milking systems at DeLaval. The farm is owned by the Trierweiler family. They decided to transition to a robotic milking system after seeing improved longevity and lower cull rates of cows in dairy farms using these systems. Here’s how the Voluntary Milking System machine works(VMS): the cows are free to come to the machine to be milked as they please, drawn by the feed that is dispensed during milking. The animals are creatures of habit, they learn this routine within a few days, says Labban in an email. The system cleans, pre-milks, dries and stimulates each teat individually using water, compressed air and a vacuum. After this preparation stage, the cows are milked via a robotic attachment that scans their underside to detect where the teats are located and checks the milk flow before releasing the suction cup at the end of the milking session. According to DeLaval, the VMS is better for cows than traditional milking systems since it has an open structure that allows the cow to see her surroundings and to stand in a comfortable position without human management, which can be stressful for the animals. The VMS also monitors udder health and can detect potentially life-threatening mammary gland infections. The VMS increases efficiency, providing the dairy producer with the opportunity to hire fewer, but higher-caliber trained and qualified people.see