“For a small family farm, I think robots are the future. They help cut labor, and the family can manage them better than if they previously depended on hired help.”

The Poettkers are just the fourth farm in their area to install milking robots, but Duane suspects more will make their way to Central Illinois as family-run farms consider the benefits of robots and the future of their dairies.


Poettker Dairy

Aviston, IL, USA

Poettker Dairy






“It’s important to me to keep our dairy a family farm – and to keep the Poettker name dairying for another generation,” says Duane Poettker.

He and his wife, Patricia, have been dairy farming for 40 years in Aviston, Ill. They were planning to ride out the rest of their milking days with an old double-4 DeLaval herringbone parlor until their son, Eric, and wife Bridgett, showed an interest in continuing the family tradition.


To keep the farm going for the next generation, the Poettkers decided to invest in two DeLaval Voluntary Milking System VMS™ units for their 120 cows. Since start-up in spring 2016, the family has seen their tank average increase by 10 pounds of milk per cow per day. Labor savings has also been a big benefit of the robots. 

“(VMS) has saved us a lot on labor,” says Duane. “Normally, it would take three hours twice a day to milk with outside help. Now we do it all ourselves and spend just an hour fetching cows. This gives us more time to focus on other chores.”

When the Poettkers aren’t busy tending their heifer and bulls calves or working in the field, the family is in the barn caring for their cows. “We try to keep (the cows) dry and clean and the buildings ventilated as well as we possibility can,” remarks Duane. “When we need to move the animals, we do it in a humane way so they stay calm.”

Food safety is also a top priority at Poettker Dairy. In addition to frequently cleaning the equipment and facilities, Duane says they closely monitor herd health: “SCC is down in the new facility thanks to sand bedding and more milkings with the VMS units.” 

“For a small family farm, I think robots are the future. They help cut labor, and the family can manage them better than if they previously depended on hired help.”

Our solutions

Learn more about the DeLaval solutions that help Poettker Dairy save time and enhance food safety, animal welfare and profitability.

In the equipment room

DeLaval vacuum pump DVP

DeLaval vacuum pump DVP gives a very stable vacuum level to help ensure regulators, pulsators and milking clusters optimally function within a smooth, comfortable milking process. This can result in better milk quality and higher farm productivity.

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Udder health & hygiene

Della One Plus™

Della One Plus is a 1% titratable iodine post dip for use in reducing new intramammary infections in dairy cows. Delivering 8% glycerin combined with Aloe Vera, Della One Plus performs better than other conventional teat dips that contain just 10% glycerin. This unique technology won’t strip precious skin oils away, but leaves them on skin to combine with the glycerin promoting healthy supple teat skin.

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Mega-San Plus®

Mega-San Plus is a concentrated, low-foaming acid sanitizer for use in clean-in-place (CIP) dairy systems. It combines two steps into one, effectively removing minerals from the water and milk residue.

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Our solutions

DeLaval InService™

A security for you, your cows and your milking plant.

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