Research shows who is likely to consider milking robots

A researcher with Wisconsin’s Dairy Innovation Hub is digging into why some dairy producers use robotic milkers while others avoid them.

Jalyssa Beaudry is a University of Wisconsin-River Falls graduate now working on her master’s degree at UW Madison.  She tells Brownfield that 75% of dairy farmers surveyed are not considering automated milking systems for their farms. “The top two reasons we found is that it’s too expensive to purchase and install, and then the second reason was it’s too costly to maintain, so money is an issue when talking about adopting AMS.”

Beaudry says they’ve found farms with milking robots have more cows than the average farm, higher rolling herd averages, and more acres to manage.  She says when it comes to automated milking systems, there is such thing as too few and too many cows. “For farms that have over 1,000 cows, it’s not likely for them to adopt, and for farms of less than 60, it’s also not likely for them to adopt robots.”

Beaudry says it’s also the younger farmers and farmers over 60 that are more likely to use automated milking systems. “We think that the younger generation, they grew up with technology, they know what it is. Older generations, their bodies just physically are deteriorating and they need some help milking their cows.”

Beaudry says the research is continuing as she looks into profitability in the automated systems and she also wants to compare guided-flow versus free-flow barns.  She says their survey showed about an equal split when asking which robot brands were being used.

AUDIO: Jalyssa Beaudry discusses her research with Brownfield’s Larry Lee while displaying her findings at the Wisconsin State Capitol.

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