On the 21st of June 2000 the Van Kempen - Van Diepenbeek family started robotic milking at the current location in Biddinghuizen, The Netherlands. Twenty years, 1.9 million milkings and about 20 million litres of milk later, both DeLaval VMS milking robots are still working on the farm. This makes them the oldest working DeLaval robots in the world. "When we started, automatic milking was still in its early stages and - together with DeLaval - we had to discover a lot," says a proud father Jos van Kempen.
In 2000 the family moved from Zeewolde to Biddinghuizen. "At that time it was already clear that the children were interested in taking over the farm and that was the reason for us to invest in automation", continues Jos van Kempen. In all these years there have been two major upgrades to the robot, replacing the pneumatic control of the robot arm with a hydraulic one and adapting the software. In addition, in 2015 Online Cell Counters (OCC) was installed on the robots. One of the VMSs is still running the camera it had from day one.
The robots are literally like new in the milking room. "Keeping the robot up to date and, above all, regular and good maintenance ensure a long lifespan", says van Kempen. "With our DeLaval dealer Van der Sluis Agri from Genemuiden we have a very good partner. The cost of maintenance has not increased in recent years. So they will certainly run for a number of years to more".
Approximately 110 milking cows are milked on the dairy farm in Biddinghuizen. In addition, the farm consists of 90 hectares of arable farming and a Bed & Breakfast. It is a real family business where the tasks are clearly defined. Meanwhile, son Joris van Kempen and son-in-law Marc van Diepenbeek have taken over the daily activities on the farm. Daughter Mariska is mainly occupied with the Bed & Breakfast. She is regularly assisted by mother Maria.