Barbara Siemen is a dairy farmer, mother and volunteer from Harbor Beach, Michigan who contributes to the CommonGround program which is a national movement of farm women who want to share information about farming and the food we grow with consumers. In this blog, Siemen shares about their dairy operation transitioning from a parlor-milking system to a Lely robotic-milking system.
Read an excerpt here or the entire blog.
by Barbara Siemen
It was a huge undertaking for us, but it’s well worth the change because of the advantages it brings our cows. Robots in our barns have brought consistency and, as a result, more quiet to our barns and contentment to our cows.
Milking with the New Robotic System
- The cows walk to the robots by themselves and wait to enter the robot.
- The cows walk into the robot one at a time to be milked.
- The robot cleans and preps the cow and attaches the milking apparatus. Meanwhile, the cow munches on a cherry-flavored pellet in a food bin in front of her while being milked. Her regular food is still in the feed alley as always, but this is a special treat she gets to have while standing in the robot.
- The robot senses the decreasing milk flow in each of the udder quadrants and detaches individually. This is big improvement for our cows as they no longer get milked after they are dry, which can be very uncomfortable for them.
- Next, the food bin swings forward and the cow walks out as the robot cleans and preps for the next cow that is already walking in.
One great benefit of the robots is that our cows milk themselves 24/7 on their own schedule, not ours. And as I said before, our barn is now super quiet and calm. We no longer have anyone whistling or calling to get the cows up and moving over to the parlor. In addition, the cows are never away from their food or water for very long.