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Getting the basics right – Robotic milking

Getting the basics right – Robotic milking

On the recent special edition of Let’s Talk Dairy, Patrick Gowing and Stuart Childs, Teagasc discuss robotic milking in Ireland. Robotic milking is an increasing trend on Irish dairy farms with over 1,000 milking robots milking in the south of Ireland at present (~ 3.8% of the national herd).

Why choose Robotics?

Labour saving is one of the main reasons some farmers are exploring robotics on their farm. A number of years ago Teagasc Moorepark conducted the “autograss” milk trial with the IGA. As part of this trial the labour input of a robotic system was compared to a traditional farmer in a conventional parlour. The study found that hours worked per cow per year was 36% lower on the robotic system compared to the conventional farmers. The saving came from the time associated with the milking process however increased time was required on the robotic system for grazing management.

Proper planning both around your farmyard and grazing infrastructure are as important on a robotic farm as a conventional farm. This is also discussed in the webinar. The focus on being a profitable farmer is in your stock quality and grazing management rather than the type of parlour you milk with.

A robotic unit requires a large scale capital investment. In the webinar a comparison is made on the impact on profit, when investing in a robotic system for the top 25% of farmers, based on the e-profit monitors (ePMs) for both existing famers and new entrants.

The details and financials of robotic milking along with designs and the ideal layout are detailed. Patrick also outlines a comparison between robotic milking and once a day (OAD) and twice a day milking.  The location of the robot on the farm is important and it's critical to get that right from the start. 

Watch webinar recording below

Patrick Gowing is Co-ordinator of the Teagasc Dairy Expansion Service. Click here to to find out more about the Teagasc Dairy Expansion Service

To see Patrick Gowing's presentation at the 2020 Once a day Milking Conference click here.                      To find out more about the Let's Talk Dairy Webinar series or to Register click here