The Farm: Rueth Farms is located in Loyal, WI and is a second generation dairy farm. Ronald and Sharon Rueth purchased the farm in 1971 from Dale and Virgina Young and proceeded to raise six children there. Rick, son of Ronald and Sharon, and his wife, Pam, took over the farm in 1999 and now operate it with a little help from their four children, Jake (17), Nick (15), Hailey (13) and Alyssa (11). Ronald Rueth still helps with labor, while Sharon helps with calf feeding.
The Decision: Before making the transition to robotic milking, it is important to consider what this will mean for your operation. Once you have decided that robotic milking is the best choice on your farm, Lely is there to help every step of the way. This is what Rueth Farms had to report about their startup experience:
What were your top three concerns about going into robotic milking?
- Limited experience with technology
- Uncertainty in cow adaption to the new milking system
How did you prepare for robotic milking?
We visited other robotic facilities and spoke with another local robotic dairy farmer, Mitch Malm, about his setup.
Barn layout; what did you have before, did you make any modifications, what did you do on your own and what did Lely help with?
Our oldest son, Jake, designed the barn layout after researching and discussing it with Rick. We brought our ideas to Adam at Dairy Services and from there Lely created a blueprint. Before our robotic setup we had a 77 stall barn.
Describe the role of your Lely advisor and how their assistance affected your startup:
Adam Steiner was our Lely Advisor. He was very helpful with the whole project from beginning to end. He continues to answer any questions we have. We want to give thanks to all the Dairy Services staff for their support and guidance during this project.
“It is a big step to make a change in your diary operation.” said Rick. “We are glad we did it and would never go back to the old set up.”
“Rick did not have much experience with computers so that was a concern for him,” said Pam. “Our children have been brought up with computers and are very active on the farm, so I knew we could make this transition work. We love the barn set up, the water mattresses and herdsman room. We wouldn’t change a thing.”