March 10, 2015
Any dairy farm considering robotic milking needs to answer a host of questions about transitioning to the technology. That's why Farm Credit East is sponsoring daily Robot Roundtable discussions at New York Farm Show to help get those questions answered.
"This year's Dairy Robot Roundtables will showcase producers who've incorporated robotic milking into their operations," says John Lehr, farm business consultant for Farm Credit East. "The producers will share insight on their experiences, good and bad, on how robots influence their day-to-day lives."
READY AND WILLING: Once adapted to robotic milking, cows tend to prefer it over "human intervention".
The 1½-hour roundtables kick off in the Arts and Home Center's upper-level Bistro Room at 9:30 each morning. AMS Galaxy, Delaval and Lely company reps will introduce milk producers using robotic milking systems. The panel of three or four producers will cover what made them switch, how they transitioned, what they did right and wrong, plus suggestions for those considering robotics. Panelists include:
(All three days) Craig Finke of Fink Farms, Nashville, Ill., with 100 cows on automated milking and feeding system.
(Thursday and Friday) Dan Brown of Snow Brook Farm, Great Valley, N.Y., milking a 65-cow organic herd with one robot
(Saturday) Julie Pellet of Linholm Dairy, Bloomfield, N.Y., milking more than 200 cows with three robots
(Thursday) John Wolf of Maple Lawn Farms, Lyons, N.Y., milking 375 cows with seven robots
(Friday) Nathan Belsy of Blesy Farm at Springville, N.Y., milking 260 cows with five robots
(Saturday) Glenn and Sheryl Taylor of Tayl-Wind Farm, Cassville, N.Y., milking 200 cows with robots and using a Juno feed pusher
VOICES OF ROBOTIC EXPERIENCE: Sheryl and Glenn Taylor will be on the Saturday panel discussing and fielding questions about their robotic milking system.
13 Qs to quiz 'em on...
Farmers are encouraged to bring notebooks, plus many questions, to take home many answers. Here are a few issues to take home answers on:
•What were the biggest concerns going to robotic milking and did they materialize?
• What barn changes were needed to switch to robotic milking?
• What management changes were necessary?
• How were production, SCC and animal health impacted?
• What's the robot mechanical reliability, annual repair cost and perceived life?
• How do you measure success in robotic milking- in terms of production, labor, financial, etc.?
• How does information from the robot change dairy herd management?
• What feed program changes were due to robotic milking?
• What would be done differently the next time?
• What's best: Building a new barn or retrofitting an existing barn for robotics?
• How to transition to robotics without over-leveraging?
• Any plans to further implement robotics into your operation?
• Any thoughts on barn design (free flow or guided flow), feed alleys, manure handling or bedding?
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