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PDMP Robotics Dairy Issue Forum Nov 7, 2013 Doyle Waybright Mason Dixon Farms.

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Presentation on theme: "PDMP Robotics Dairy Issue Forum Nov 7, 2013 Doyle Waybright Mason Dixon Farms."— Presentation transcript:

1 PDMP Robotics Dairy Issue Forum Nov 7, 2013 Doyle Waybright Mason Dixon Farms

2 It is easier to put a man on the moon than it is to milk a cow with a robot. Sept 1969 Buz Aldrin walked on the moon and it was not till mid 1990s that milking robots were available commercially. It became possible by the power of the computer.

3 History: 2000 Trip to Germany by 2 brothers discovers “new way to milk cows” Aug 2001 Went to Sweden Dec 2001 Installed first robot attached to barn 2003 Sold first robot Jan 2004 Second trip to Sweden Mar 2005 Commence building Phase I Nov 2005 Began milking first 10 milking stations Sep 2009 Started milking in Phase II Dec 2009 Started milking in new Phase I stations

4 Current: Milking 1,000+ cows in 20 milking stations, one robot per pen of 50 – 60 cows using guided traffic 2.7X at # milk Avg year around SCC 250,000

5 Goals: Reduce labor – shut down twin double 12 herringbone parlors milking 1000 cows Note I did not say reduce management Produce milk at equivalent cost to conventional system - accomplished But very high up front capital outlay

6 Management: Herdsmen 2 ½ Barn man – grooming stalls, general cleaning Repro, foot trimming, bedding and feeding crews go to the barn Do our own maintenance and repairs Sick and deviation cows are segregated from the barn Single ration for the barn, no pen changes

7 What we’ve learned: Cows L2+ train easiest L1 start at 30 DIM Same milk production, same repro Better BCS, slightly higher DMI, easy to find a cow Udder conformation is important, RTP and angle forward teats Foot health impacts volunteer milking system sooner than conventional Herdsmen – younger, computer literate, technology savvy Parts inventory is critical – this year on track for $4000/station Equipment maintenance is on a schedule but customized for our barn 12 stop alarms avg day Grain feeding is advantageous – 2 to 10# per cow per day

8 Challenges: Not as easy to cross train herd staff (conventional vs robotic) High bacteria count event trouble shooting on your own to resolve Regulatory standards are set higher for robots

9 Pleasant surprises: Ease to train older cows Cow behavior is calmer – visitors even notice, no herding Nice comfortable barn to work in

10 Changes: Breeding program emphasizes RTP 3X feeding year around

11 Industry needs: Large pens with multiple milking stations Lower cost barns University research and education/training of students

12 Advice to dairymen interested in robotic milking: Visit as many farms as you can Learn the characteristics of each company’s robot Look at your herd, how many cows would not attach well Send your herdsman to another robot farm for a week


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