Four years ago, New York Farm Show hosted a jam-packed room of dairy farmers eager to learn how robotic milking systems might fit their farms. Now, get ready for Dairy Robotonomics 2013 – again at Syracuse, N.Y.
NYFS and American Agriculturist will host an update session on the technology that's revolutionizing dairy farm milking systems around the world. The major players in robotic milking – DeLaval and Lely – will be upfront with the latest on how their systems fit farms today.
Dairy robotics come sized for progressive farms – not just big dairies or small ones. But much has changed in four years. That's why Dairy Robotonomics is due for a repeat course. It comes together at 10 a.m., Friday, Feb. 22, in the upstairs Bistro Room of the Arts and Home Center at the New York State Fairgrounds on Syracuse's western edge.
The program's experts are . . .
John Baker, DeLaval's U.S. lead on voluntary milking systems, will share the latest on DeLaval's VMS system. He'll be backed by George Haier, of Haier Dairy at Eden, N.Y.
Haier converted his freestall barn to VMS last year and did away with his old pipeline system. His cows milk themselves about 2.4 times a day and have raised their average to 70 pounds of milk per cow per day.
Lely Regional Manager Alfred Kamps will lead discussions on how the Astronaut system has changed and improved, as well as what dairy farmers can look forward to in the next year.
You'll also learn from the Lely experience of John Wolf, Lyons, N.Y. He and wife Roberta installed five Lely A3s in 2008 and another two in 2009 in a retrofitted barn.
Maple Lawn Farms milks 400 cows with robots. "We installed robots as a way to avoid building a new milking center," says John. "We had outgrown our old flat barn parlor and retrofit wasn't an option for it."
Dairy Robotonomics participants will have ample time for raising questions for all four experts. So put on your thinking cap, and make your list.
Questions you can expect answers on:
•How many robotic units would you need?
•What's the per-unit cost and typical cost recovery time?
•What's the estimated annual labor savings for robotic milking?
•If you're not computer-savvy, what kind of training is provided?
•How can robotics be fitted to existing barn layouts?
•What's the average cow through-put per milking unit?
•What's the best way(s) to introduce cows to their new milkers?
•Do feeding system changes linked with the stalls facilitate higher milk yields?
•Is backup power included in the bottom-line cost and what does it typically cost?
•Who provide back-up support for those blinking red lights or computer-generated emergency calls?