An 830-strong pedigree Jersey cow herd can be milked in batches by 24 robots on Klaus Jacobsen’s farm in circa four hours.
The herd, which is farmed in at Lønholm Agro near Kolding, Denmark, is being milked by 24 VMS™ V310 robots in a unique batch milking system which will enable Jakobsen to grow the herd to 1,400 cows in the near future.
Each cow takes just seven minutes to be milked and DeLaval believes that this is the largest robot batch milking farm in the world.
DeLaval launched the concept of batch milking in 2021 and there are now 150 VMS robots installed globally, with herd sizes ranging in size from 250 to 2,000 cows.
According to DeLaval, “batch milking requires only one unskilled staff member to milk a herd of up to 2,000 which makes it attractive to markets where recruitment is difficult and skilled wages are high”.
The farm owner said: “We started milking in May this year and the cows adapted very quickly.”
“Batch milking is the right system for our 700-hectare farm because we needed to reduce our dependence on skilled labour and have a milking method that could be scaled up easily and quickly.”
Commenting on the success of batch milking, DeLaval’s Jonas Hällman, Executive Vice President, EMEA (Europe, Middle East, Africa) says:
“The VMS batch setup is flexible and can easily be scaled up for a wide variety of farms, including very large ones.”
“In addition, automatic milking requires little manual work, which can reduce labour dependencies and related costs.”
Batch milking has provided Jacobsen with a system that can be managed from anywhere in the world.
Using just a mobile device, he can monitor the productivity and health of every cow using data sent by the robots.
“I can see milk yield, when and why it has fluctuated, monitor pregnancy using the robot’s progesterone testing module, and also use cameras to observe the cows being at rest and during milking,” he added.
DeLaval suggests that whilst herd sizes are growing worldwide as farms consolidate, batch milking offers a solution to managing growing herds with less dependence on labour and the benefit of more data to improve productivity.
“We focus on supporting our customers – the dairy farmers of the world – with their challenges, and we commit to being a true performance partner to them,” Hällman concluded.
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