How does lameness impact cow longevity?

Lameness is a constant threat with any dairy herd, and is one of the three chief reasons for involuntary culling, along with mastitis and fertility problems.
Each of these conditions can affect an animal’s productivity, and even in mild forms, may be used as a reason for removing the animal from the herd – even when through simple early detection, treatment and preventative actions, that animal could remain productive well past the usual average 2.5 lactations.

 

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Why we really need to think about extending the lifetime productivity of a cow  

Dairy farmers need to replace cows in the herd frequently because of health and reproduction issues; yet this expensive practice could also be avoided in some cases through a range of simple, effective measures. Isn’t that part of what sustainable farming is about?

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Herd Navigator: the way ahead

How much time and effort could you save if you could identify problems like mastitis or ketosis, before they became a problem in your dairy herd? And how much extra profit might you earn, if you could spot the animals in heat with pinpoint accuracy?

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KPIs: the key to managing your robotic milking operation

If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it. If you want to see how well your robotic milking operation is running, then it’s important to use some specific key performance indicators (KPIs).
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Making a good robotic milking facility great: the cow’s perspective

Installing an automatic milking system doesn’t bring instant answers to dairy farming challenges in itself: to get the very best output from the herd requires careful thought, planning and consideration. And the best place to start is by looking at things from the cow’s point-of-view.

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Reducing electricity consumption on farm – by management

As more and more dairy farms turn to automation for labour-intensive tasks such as milking and feeding, electricity costs increase. As dairy farm’s total income is based on the amount and quality of milk sold, electricity consumption should be measured against the actual amount of milk produced, i.e. kWh/litre milk and not per cow.

In this post I look at some farm management activities that can reduce electricity consumption and operational expenses. 
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What robotic milking can and can’t do for the dairy farmer

Today approximately 10,000 farms across the globe milk more than 1.2 million cows in automatic milking systems. Northern Europe, Holland, Germany and France have lead this paradigm shift in milking. Ninety percent of new equipment installations in Sweden and Finland, and 50% in Germany, include robotic milking systems – showing that this has become a reliable technology for small and medium farms.

As automatic milking systems continue to shape the future of dairy farming, more and more producers want to know what it can – and can’t – do before making the investment. This article aims to introduce the different types of systems available and the realities of operating each system.

What robotic milking offer a dairy farmer

90% of new equipment installations in Sweden and Finland, and 50% in Germany, include robotic milking systems.

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How farmers can affect their use of energy on farm

This year’s Earth Hour is scheduled for Saturday, March 29 from 8.30pm-9.30 pm CET. The aim is to encourage individuals, communities and businesses to turn off non-essential lights for one hour, as a symbol of their commitment to a more sustainable society, but more importantly to highlight a broad range of sustainability issues. Agriculture, as all industries, faces the challenge to reduce their energy use and to improve their resource productivity (1).

Earth Hour

Energy use on farm can be influenced with the right management and the right technology.

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On guided cow traffic and feeding strategies in robotic dairies

In our last blog, we discussed the most common cow traffic system, free cow traffic. This post discusses the second option, guided cow traffic.

Telescopic-gate

Cow being guided to feeding bunk

Guided cow traffic increases robot capacity and labour efficiency

This cow traffic system is designed to increase robot capacity and labour efficiency. In this system, a selection gate is used to guide and pre-select cows for milking. The gate’s software determines whether or not a cow has permission to milk based on her expected yield, hours since last milking, lactation number and stage of lactation. This ensures that when a cow visits the robot, she will be milked or diverted – eliminating refusals and increasing station capacity.

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Free cow traffic systems in robotic dairies

No two robotic dairy operations are the same. Every farm is as unique as the people who run them. In order to get the best return on your investment, it’s wise to research proven methods used by other farmers in different circusmtances, and then decide what’s best for your operation. It’s good to keep in mind however, that what works for your neighbour may not necessarily work for you.

Barn design for free cow traffic in robotic dairy

Key to free cow traffic in robotic dairy

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