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Chance to see dairy robots in action

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By Fiona Reid
Farming
Chance to see dairy robots in action

CURIOUS farmers can find out more about dairy robots at an open day in Rigg next week.

Craig and Alison Moffat are opening the gates at Kirtlebank Farm, where they have put in two dairy robots.

The event takes place on Thursday, September 1, in association with manufacturer DeLaval, and dealer Mathers Ltd, to offer insight into how the milking robots have improved cow health and productivity.

Craig said: “Four generations have farmed here, and we have recently entered a new era by investing in two DeLaval VMS 310 milking robots. We were milking in a herringbone that my father installed in 1996, so the improvement the new building and the robots have made has been significant.”

The Moffats have seen milk yields increase to 11,305 litres per cow whilst mastitis cases have almost disappeared, and SCCs have dropped from 175 to 85.

The robots milk 127 of the 175 milkers in a hybrid arrangement that sees 48 cows milked in the old parlour to contribute milk to the family’s two milk vending machines.

Craig added: “We have chosen to milk the lower yielding cows in the parlour to supply a vending machine opposite the farm and another at the Caledonia Park outlet village. The robots are better suited to maximising yield from more productive cows, and we have housed them in a new shed with a guided system that is working well.”

And he says the guided system also means he has been able to feed less concentrate at the robots compared to a conventional free access system. This encourages the cows to eat a higher energy TMR and reduces costs. On average, a cow passes the selection gate 11.5 times and is only given access 2.8 times a day.

“Finding reliable staff and the amount of time we were dedicating to milking was unsustainable. The cows are happier and healthier as a result of choosing their own milking patterns and I have more time to focus on AI and foot trimming,” he said.

The farm has also installed DeLaval Repro, a progesterone testing system that takes daily samples from milk for heat detection.

To book a place on the farm tour, between 10 am and 3 pm, go to https://bit.ly/3SyYSmB or call Mathers on 01387 254171.

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