“You can’t expect to put robots in and walk away.”
Many smaller herds have problems with outdated equipment and at the same time have to deal with the challenge of knowing what to invest their money in.
Millbridge Dairy in Malone, Wisconsin had exactly that kind of problem. And it looks like they solved it well. After an installation of three DeLaval VMS™ robots in December 2015 they’ve double the size of their herd.
“We were milking in what they call a ‘poor man’s parlor’ – a 35-unit stanchion barn,” jokes Millbridge’s owner, John Ketter. Due to the new freestall barn they expect to add another 50 animals when installing their fourth robot in the spring of 2017.
Labor efficiency is another advantage of the robots. One person monitors Millbridge Dairy’s three robots whereas one to two people were required to milk half as many cows in the old stanchion barn.
John says that installing the DeLaval VMS™ units has made their routine more flexible, but also says, “You can’t expect to put robots in and walk away.” He laughs as he describes himself as a glorified babysitter. “You still need to spend time with the cows,” he adds. “They are animals. They need to be fed and taken care of.”