Comestar Holstein Invests in Robotic Milking

The Quebec-based dairy farm known across the globe for its outstanding genetics, including famed Comestar Laurie Sheik, signed an agreement to purchase a total of eight DeLaval VMS™ V300 with Herd Navigator™

MADISON, WI (October 2, 2019) – A pillar of the Canadian Holstein industry, Comestar Holstein is preparing for a new phase in its storied history, one which will see them move to voluntary milking powered by DeLaval.

The new system will allow the cows to choose when they are milked, and the milking itself is performed by the new generation of milking robot – the DeLaval VMS™ V300. As well as an anticipated increase in yield, Comestar owners Marc and France Comtois, together with their children Kathleen, Steve, and Julie and her husband Julien Turmel, were very clear on the benefit of the new system for their much-envied Holsteins. “There will be more freedom and comfort for the animal,” says Marc. 

But it’s not just a case of putting in some new robots – it is the connection of those robots to capture and analyse more data, faster and more easily than ever before that will enable the Comtois family to make better decisions to improve the farm environment for themselves, workers and cows.

The Comestar Team, from left to right: Steve Comtois, Kathleen Comtois, Julien Turmel, Julie Comtois, France Comtois, and Marc Comtois.

Marc also notes that with their new DeLaval VMS system, cows will most likely be less stressed. “It will be better for the animals. We’ll be able to manage the herd’s health more efficiently.” 

This predictive power is made possible by the unprecedented data captured at each milking by DeLaval Herd Navigator™ system which performs automated milk analysis including progesterone levels. Every morning the Comtois family and their staff will receive information on each individual cow’s milking performance, health and reproductive status – because amongst other industry firsts, DeLaval VMS V300 is still the only automated milking solution that includes automated pregnancy checks.

In one year from now, Comestar Holstein plans to be milking 400 cows with six VMS V300 robots in a new sandbedded freestall barn. The facility will be built to accommodate two additional VMS units. DeLaval dealer Équipements Provencher will support the installation and service of Comestar Holstein’s robots.

“We are honoured to be involved in the evolution of Comestar Holsteins’ plans for its dairy business,” says Francisco Rodriquez, Integrated Robotics, Manager for DeLaval. “With some of the best dairy genetics in the industry, we are excited to see how our technology pairs with the milking potential of the Comestar herd.”

The rise of automated milking has created a demand for robot-efficient dairy cows where every second counts.

Paul Larmer, Semex CEO, says he isn’t surprised that Comestar Holstein is moving towards automation given their reputation for being at the forefront of dairy cattle technologies. “Comestar sires are known worldwide for siring excellent feet & legs, udders that have the correct teat settings and large volumes of milk. The global industry is demanding these kind of cows that are essentially ‘robot ready,’ and bloodlines like Comestar have been and will continue to meet this demand.”

About Comestar Holstein

Comestar Holstein, home to 1,000 Holsteins, is located in Victoriaville, Quebec. For four decades, owner Marc Comtois has travelled the world in his drive to propagate the most outstanding dairy genetics. His accomplishments as a Holstein breeder are legendary, beginning with his famous Comestar Laurie Sheik – the cow that launched the line and continues to deliver champion genetics seven generations later. Marc is a 2019 Canadian Agriculture Hall of fame inductee.

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