Knigge shares twenty-four years of robotic milking experience

The Wisconsin dairy producer who was the first in the nation to install robotic milking machines is now on his third robotic milking system.

Pete Knigge tells Brownfield his first robots were installed in August of 2000, but he’s upgraded about every ten years. “Like our cellphones and computers, they all get better and give us more information, work faster. Same thing with the robots.”

Knigge says he and his son already had plans to build a 300-cow free stall barn on their farm near Omro, Wisconsin when he saw his first robot during a state ag department trip to the Netherlands. “We were going to hire people to milk our cows and we had no experience with hired labor, and we were really kind of terrified of that, and the robot company was interested in getting into the U.S., and so that was how it all came about.”

Knigge says adjusting to robotic milkers was not only a learning curve for feeding and cow management, but it was also new to regulators. 

His advice for farmers considering robotic milking? “Go visit other farms that have the robots and talk to the farmers, not that the salesmen aren’t true with you, but the other farmers will tell you how it really is on the farms.”

Knigge says he’s learned to have one robot for every 60 to 65 cows because if the cows must wait too long, you don’t get as much milk. Knigge says all of his milking robots were manufactured by Lely.

AUDIO: Pete Knigge discusses his 24 years of milking with robots with Brownfield’s Larry Lee

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