21 Tips for Automatic Milking Robot Success

Agri-Nutrition Consulting’s Dr. Anne Proctor and a robotic dairy owner, Keith Groshek give us insight on having a robotic farm. If you are thinking about installing one, make sure you’ve covered all of your bases and read up on the following tips and tricks.  1. Two to four robots or 1-2 pods is a good number for one or more full-time people to handle, but any more than 4 robots will most likely be too much work to keep up. 2. The first year of having robots is about learning how to be hands-on with the robots and training the cows how to properly use it. 3. When buying robots, choose a company that has a dealership in your area and service people who have experience with the system. In other words, have a technician nearby that can help you if something needs attention.   4. If you are going to invest in robots, then invest in building or remodeling a barn with excellent cow comfort. Make sure the facility is not limiting your success and the well-being of your herd. 5. Talk with others who have the system you are interested in to find out what they don’t like about it.  Robots solve some challenges on the dairy, but create others.  Know what you are getting into before committing. 6. You do not need all the bells and whistle to be successful. However, you need to know what types of machines and programs fit YOUR style and goals for you to be successful.   7. Educate yourself on computers and software and become comfortable with computers. 8. Have a personality that...

The real facts and experiences of having a robotic farm

Keith Groshek, Agri-Nutrition Consulting customer working with Dr. Anne Proctor, farms with his father and uncles near Amherst Junction, WI.  They have grown the Holstein herd from 120 head in 2012 to 210 cows today (and capacity for 240 when the milking barn is full), thanks to the innovative ideals and advancements they have added to the dairy. In 2014, they built a robot milking barn with 2 pods; 4 robotic milkers.  The Groshek Dairy is currently averaging 90 lbs. of milk per cow and 3.7 % butterfat. As a family man, Keith wanted to have a more flexible schedule while maintaining a high producing herd without depending on hired labor. The thought of robotic milkers came to him in 2010, but he wanted to do things right the first time around, taking his time in educating himself and learning the different types of robotics and facility layouts. Keith spent over 2 years gathering any and all information he could he his hands on. Through his travels of visiting 11 different robot farms, he finalized his plans for his new milking facility. The guided-flow traffic design from DeLaval was the right choice for his vision and style of farming. Keith did consider both types of flow traffic (guided and free flow), but as he saw some of the free-flow systems he noticed a few things that would not be a good fit for his style. On some of the free-flow farms, he would watch a few of the cows go through the milking stall, turn around and go back again. He did not like the idea having the cows circle...