to say about housing cows in milk robot units:
Planning is key to robot success
28 April 2012 | By Katie Lomas
THE issues of building planning and adaptation, lameness prevention and the importance of water were all topics for discussion at last week’s ‘planning for robots’ seminar held in Gloucestershire.
If you are looking to expand or develop a dairy business using robotic milking systems, considerable thought needs to go into the planning or adaptation of buildings for this purpose.
This came from Ivor Davey, sales development manager at Wilson Agriculture, who said there were four steps in the decision making process.
He said: “Firstly you need to think about the building layout and long-term plans, then look at building design, cubicle design and then the beds.”
Mr Davey said robotic milking should be part of a ‘long-term plan’ and the options for development should be considered first to address whether there is further room to expand cow and robot numbers if the need is there.
In terms of designing the building, Mr Davey said it was important for every cow in the shed to be able to see the robot from wherever it was.
“In particular, end wall panels need to be kept small so cows can see the robots from anywhere in the building.
“Different companies have different theories on how to manage cow flow but, in general, you want to discourage the cows from standing where they should not be standing.
“So do not put rubber matting in front of the robot as you want to ensure free access and good cow flow.”
Mr Davey added it was important to achieve ‘natural cow behaviour’ and this was down to good building and cubicle design.
“By achieving this, cows are in good condition when they reach the robot and they spend most of their time lying down to produce good milk yields. When the cubicles are working, the passageways should be empty.”
SOURCE: Farmers Guardian
Tips on planning a robotic dairy
- Each cow needs 8-8.5sq.m of space, which includes cubicles, passages, feeding and robot area
- Space between last cubicle and the robot needs to be a minimum of 5 metres (16.5 ft)
- Feed space of around 60cm (2ft) per cow is the target
- Target of 10cm (4in) water trough space per cow
- The ideal temperature for a cow is 4 degC so good ventilation required