Institute of Agricultural and Environmental Engineering
Refereed Article in a scientific journal
The milking robot is more than a tool to relieve the farmer of the substantial daily work associated with the milking process. Current technologies offer the possibility of increasing production efficiency by combining individual milking and feeding strategies. Although the milking robot can be integrated into any type of dairy its use differs from one dairy to another. To benefit from the milking robot not just as a replacement for a milking parlour but as a management appliance the farmer should first outline his strategic planning according to his needs and available facilities. On the planning horizon, the strategic planning considerations comprise concentrates rationing, grazing (if it exists and with or without indoor forage rationing), herd size and milking frequency, facilities and labour. The strategic planning is implemented and controlled at both operational and performance levels. Continuous evaluation of the cows' performance is incorporated into a group or individual management regime. The on-line control ensures that the planned regime is implemented. The implementation of the planned regime and its control in the milking robot dairy is possible using three management functions: milking frequency, individual concentrates allocation and cow-traffic. The farmer selects his goals according to his operational methods. The degree of system management automation and individuality will determine these methods. The dairy can operate from the basic level of replacing the milkers only, up to a fully-automatic controlled daily milking, feeding and cow traffic routine with minimal involvement of the farmer.
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