The Krejchik family of Portage, WI has been dairy farming for 40 years, but about five years ago they were at a crossroads. Their old parlor was at the end of its productive life and a steady labor supply was a challenge, especially as they wanted to go back to three times per day milking. Joe, his wife Karen and brother Matt were also taking over management of the farm from their parents.
Ten years earlier the farm had also been at a crossroads, milking 300 cows 3X per day. It proved too much with the need to find labor, and so the cows were sold. That lasted about six months, when everyone realized they missed the cows. Sixty head were brought back onto the farm, gradually building to 121 head now. About three years ago, the family decided to jump full force into robotic technology, aiming to have automation change the way they managed their farm.
They installed two DeLaval VMS™ milking robots, which they now call Jack and Jill, then added CF1000+ robotic calf feeding in a beautiful new calf barn. Then they became the first farm in the United States to use Herd Navigator™ – DeLaval’s automated on-farm laboratory that measures milk, tells farmers the reproductive status of their cows and monitors rumen health and mastitis precursors.
The Krejchiks started out with free cow traffic but eventually moved to guided flow, installing what they call their employee to fetch the cows – Sally the sort gate.
They say they chose DeLaval at the start of the process because they believed in the quality of the robotic arm on the VMS™, and because their dealer was committed to understanding robotic dairy management.
Here’s how the Krejchik’s productivity has been affected on the farm since they installed VMS™ milking robots, Herd Navigator™ and robotic calf feeding.
- Milk production up 9% to 80 lbs per cow
- Somatic Cell Count down by about 44%
- Percent pregnant up about 9% to 53-56% of cows
- Pregnancy rate up to 25%
- Calf daily rate of gain up to 2.5 lbs per calf per day
Here’s what the Krejchiks have to say about their DeLaval technology choices
ON VMS™ MILKING ROBOTS:
"When my husband was young and had 300 head of cattle they had lots of hired help. It’s a hard thing to do to get people to come in and show up to work. You have to make sure they do the work the way that it’s supposed to be done. We decided that automatic milking and calf feeding was our best option, and I think that it has worked out very well for us. We’re enjoying it, the cows are doing well and the calves look fabulous. So we are happy.”
— Karen Krejchik
Results will vary from dairy to dairy. The results described in this testimonial have not independently been verified, and DeLaval does not claim the results described in this testimonial are typical. Nothing herein shall constitute a warranty or guarantee of performance. Successful implementation and use of VMS™ depends on a variety of factors, including good dairy herd management practices.