“One of the interesting things we noticed right away was seeing the cows actually sleep and relax in their stalls after visiting the VMS.”
Silvermaple Holsteins was established in 1986, and the Cuthbert family enjoys living in a rural area where family farming is a lifestyle. After looking at future generations, the farm’s location and ways to improve cow comfort, this 110-cow dairy decided to invest in new technology to milk their cattle.
Ben and Suzanne Cuthbert have been using DeLaval solutions for 30 years. The decision to go with the DeLaval voluntary milking system VMS™ was easy, especially given the ability to manually override the system and access to the robot through the pit for individual cow care. The first robot went in during November 2016 and the second was installed in April 2017.
When the new barn was built, animal welfare was a priority, as the Cuthberts follow the proAction animal care guidelines set forth by the Dairy Farmers of Canada. “We have deeply bedded sand stalls that are wider and longer to accommodate the larger-sized cows that we breed,” Suzanne says. “The technology the VMS has helps us identify milk quality issues quickly and follow the proper care protocols.”
With the installation of the VMS, the farm has saved on labor costs, reduced their somatic cell count and vet bills, and has seen an increase in milk production, “Our cows are happy and more relaxed,” Cuthbert says. “In terms of being sustainable, success to us is healthy cows that steadily increase in production and last in our herd.”
Looking to the future, the farm’s expansion plans will center around the VMS. “Growth is something that we continue to consider as a natural progression of our farm.”