Transitioning of Herds to Automatic Milking Systems
Interest in the use of automatic milking systems (AMS) continues to be high, even in a stressed dairy economy. Some of the primary reasons reported for this change in milking technology include: 1) reduction in labor, especially hired labor, 2) more flexible life-style, and 3) potential improvement in cow heath and milk yield. At present (September 2018), we have about 2140 dairy farms in Ohio and 52 farms with AMS, with about 143 AMS on Ohio farms. Thus, about 2.4% of the dairy farms in Ohio have the AMS. The vendors are primarily Lely and DeLaval, with one farm now having installed the GEA system. Although the adoption rate in Ohio is growing, it is certainly less than in Europe, Canada (6.8% in 2015), and several other states in the US. One of the aspects of adopting the AMS system that can be challenging, at least for a few weeks, is the transition period from the conventional milking system to the AMS.
A study conducted by four major universities in Canada titled “Producer experience with transitioning to automatic milking: cow training, challenges, and effect on quality of life” was reported in the 2018 October issue of the Journal of Dairy Science. Producers (n = 217 responses) from 8 Canadian providences using the Lely and DeLaval AMS were surveyed during 2014 and 2015. Overall, 42% of the producers trained animals to the AMS before the first milking. Feeding in the AMS was often practiced during training, but spraying of teats was less frequent. During training, small groups of cows (
Source: Dairy Herd