“The robots have freed up my time and the time of others on the farm to focus on growth. With the old parlour we were tied to milking twice a day which took hours away from focussing on the welfare of the cows and growing the herd"
Grant Smith farms in partnership with his parents Muir and Lorna Smith at Keltonhill Farm near Castle Douglas. Milking 270 cows at the moment with the intention to increase 320 in the next 2 years. Last year the family decided to invest in 4 DeLaval milking robots and have seen great results since.
Since the robots were installed 7 months ago Grant has seen a yield increase of 20%. The cows are producing 37kg per cow with the robots compared to the 30kg he achieved with his 12/24 swing over parlour and they have noticed other benefits too;
"The butterfat percentage is up from 4.05 to 4.25 and the protein from 3.25 to 3.35.”
One of the principle reasons for a move to robots was to give the cows the choice of when, and how often, to be milked.
“The benefit is the cows don’t have to stand so long. We have already seen an improvement in foot health and a reduction in the number of cows needing treatment,”
"When we were visiting farms to decide which milking method to invest in, we noticed the herds that had been moved to robots were calm and content. Whereas, herds that had been moved to new, more conventional, parlours appeared more on edge"
Animal welfare is a key priority for grant and the DeLaval VMS V300 robots have mastitis detection which has helped Mr Smith to identify potential problem cows more quickly and be more focussed with his time.
“We moved to robots to increase cow welfare. We looked at different options because our 12/24 swing over needed updating. The obvious benefit of the farms with robots was that the cows chose when to be milked and, in doing so, freed up more time for the farmer to concentrate on their health,
Grant did consider robots from other manufacturers but was impressed with the way the DeLaval machines handled the cows.
“The main reason we chose DeLaval over other robots was for the teat preparation. Once we had committed to robots it was clear that the 3D camera attachment technology was more effective. The system learns and adapts to each individual udder which reduces our involvement. The cleaning, pre-milking and drying of teats are all carried out by the teat preparation cup and the camera guided attachment works very well,”
The smith family have also worked with the local DeLaval dealer Mathers for three generations and their help and guidance was a huge help to the family.
“The robots have freed up my time and the time of others on the farm to focus on growth. With the old parlour we were tied to milking twice a day which took hours away from focussing on the welfare of the cows and growing the herd. The robots have been in place for seven months and I am confident that we are in a good position to grow the herd with the team we have and focus on maximising yield,”