Worker scarcity prompts rally in robotic milking

Summary:

  1. Fortunately, Daley said, over the years, many dairy nutritionists, who have to devise rations for automated feeding in robot stalls, for example, lenders, who need to understand the farmer’s hefty investment, “and the farmers themselves have succeeded in getting their arms around the management of box-style robots,” he said.
  2. That’s because they are very complex, he said, plus they generate a tidal wave of data “that can drown you” if you are not ready to work with the robot manufacturer on using the robot’s information about the cow, her milk, her health, feed rations, and more.
  3. Perhaps the first step, advises Kayla Nyegaard, an expert with Boumatic Robotics, is for dairy farmers “to decide if they are willing to work with a robot.
  4. Steve Bodart, a veteran dairy-business consultant also with Compeer Financial, cautions that “robotics are not for everyone,” and, in fact, would be a mistake for dairy farmers to adopt solely to relieve a worker shortage.
  5. Use of so-called box robots started slowly on the continent in 2000, said Matt Daley, senior vice president of sales in North America for GEA, a leading dairy robot manufacturer.
  6. Berning explains that a farmer wants to minimize stress for a cow visiting a robot for her first season of milking, an important thing to do if milk production is to be maximized.
  7. Tom Oesch, who operates a dairy with a brother, cousin and others in Alto, Mich., reported some milk production summary numbers for both his 1,300 cows milked in parlors and 500 milked in robots.

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