“If I knew then what I know now, I would have made the change sooner,” says Steve Sondericker of Friendly Acres.
Finding high quality, consistent labor doesn’t have to be a problem anymore, at least if you ask the Sondericker family of Attica, NY.
Friendly Acres first got their start in 1918, and 15 years ago the owners, Steve and Sue Sondericker, made the decision to invest in robotic milking. They are now using eight DeLaval Voluntary Milking System VMS™ units for their 480 cows, and the herd is being milked 2.8 times a day. Production has increased by about 10 pounds per cow. It’s not just the VMS that explains the improvement, but the introduction of DeLaval Swinging Cow Brushes has also played its part in improving cow health, comfort and welfare.
“Before the installation of the DeLaval VMS milking robots, I was at the mercy of my employees to alert me to potential concerns. Too many times, issues escaped my attention because an employee wasn’t paying attention or didn’t care,” Sondericker says.
With the automatic system and the ability to collect data, Sondericker can see, at a glance, which cows need attention and he’s noticed that fewer cows are being treated.
“The DeLaval team was there to help us from the first conversation of how the barn design might look, the start of planning, to installation, start-up and guiding the cows into the robots during the first few days,” Sondericker says.
The only thing the Sondericker family regrets is that they didn’t make the change sooner.