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...