My Grazing Week: Autumn - Do robots really work with grazing?


Andrew is back with the ever popular series and this week answer a big question from the ploughing to Robots really work with grazing? The answer is a resounding yes!

My Grazing Week: Autumn - Do robots really work with grazing?

  • ADDED
  • 2 years ago

Andrew is back with the ever popular series and this week answer a big question from the ploughing to Robots really work with grazing? The answer is a resounding yes!

My Grazing Week: Autumn 8

Robotic system: DeLaval VMS™ robotic grass based milking

Recap last week:

MS/cow/day: 1.93kg

Grass GR: 68Kg

Grazing systems

(21st - 27th September)

Milk KPI’s

Fat

4.76%

Protein

3.98%

Yield

22.1kg

MS/cow/day

1.93/cow

SCC (‘000)

65

TBC (‘000)

4

Concentrates

Rotation length

3.3kg

36 days

Life on the farm

There has been a large quantity of rainfall this week, making grazing that little bit more challenging. However, there was a few days of good drying which allowed the ground to soak. We have not yet seen any damage to any of the paddocks.

The cows are grazing some very high covers in excess of 1900 kg DM/ha. Residuals have not been too bad considering the high cover, but had we not gotten the rain, clean out would probably be better.

Part of this week was spent up at the National Ploughing Championships. This was a great event and there was huge interest in the robotic milking systems that were on display over the three days.

Do robots really work with grazing?

This was the question that was the most commonly asked around the robots at the ploughing!

I find it astonishing that people still have doubts about these systems working on grass! DeLaval have had robots milking cows on grass, in Ireland, since 2013. Since then there have been dozens of robots installed, also working on grass! This is only one brand; other manufactures also have many machines dotted around the country operating in the same fashion. Over all there is close to one hundred robotic milking systems operating using a grazing system!

With these stats, the simple answer would be, yes robots do work with grazing! But of course, it is not all that simple to get it operating the same way that you see many of these systems operating.

I have discussed before, there are huge amounts of time, effort, management and thought process that goes into getting these systems running effectively.

Last week I talked about the different methods that can be used for grazing the cows. These are all ways of making the robot work in a grazing system!

When you purchase a robot from whichever manufacture you choose, you are purchasing a machine to get your cows milked. Just the same way if you purchase a combine harvester, you purchase a machine to get your crops harvested. How you go about getting that cow to the machine to be milked is up to the farmer, and the method they choose to make it happen. Of course there are advisors to guide and point you in the right direction, but we are not the ones running your farm on a day-to-day basis!

For these robots to work on grass, you have to have the correct infrastructure, and the right quality and quantity of grass for the cows to graze.

In a sense, robots should work better in a grazing system when compared with a free flow barn operation. When the cows are grazing, you are only allocating them enough grass in the field so that they have an incentive to come back to be milked. In other words, the feed in the field will run out at some stage and they will have to return to find more! In a free flow barn, the feed is always present at the feed table, so there is no major incentive for some of the cows to go to the robot (guided systems give the cow no choice). A cow could happily just go from cubicles to feed and back again, completely avoiding the robot all day, unless fetched!

With this been said, there are of course challenges on a grazing system, such as weather, grass growth rate, stage of growth etc. Obviously weather cannot be managed, but when operating a robotic grazing system, it can be easier for some to manage grass as you are forced to walk parts of the paddocks every day!

Summary

Robots do work on grass, and most farmers have them working extremely well, and are getting more out of their grass and cows, than if they were using a conventional parlour. But they also input a lot of good management process each day to get the operation running well.

There is no real reason that any farmer can’t get a robot to work on grass, but it comes down to willingness, attitude, mind-set and it depends on what they want to achieve, or if it will suit their system.

Robots are not for everyone, and if you have serious doubts about whether you can get it to work on grass, then I would say perhaps it is just not for you.

Similar Articles

Comments


The Marts Forecast
The Marts Forecast
Click to View Weekly Mart Schedules
SELECT LIVESTOCK

Cattle Marts Scheduled Nationwide

Monday

  • Birr
  • Carrigallen
  • Granard
  • Elphin
  • Inishowen
  • Manorhamilton
  • Stranolar
  • Tuam

Tuesday

  • Ballina
  • Ballyjamesduff
  • Drumshambo
  • Ennis
  • Enniscorthy
  • Fermoy
  • Nenagh

Wednesday

  • Athenry
  • Ballinrobe
  • Elphin
  • Granard
  • Kilrush
  • Nenagh

Thursday

  • Ballymote
  • Birr
  • Castlerea
  • Drumshambo
  • Ennis
  • Kilkenny
  • Raphoe

Friday

  • Donegal
  • Gort
  • Kilfenora
  • Roscommon
  • Roscrea
  • Tullow

Saturday

  • Balla
  • Carnew
  • Carrigallen
  • Dowra
  • Loughrea
  • Maam Cross
  • Mohill
  • New Ross
  • Scariff
  • Tullow

Sheep Marts Scheduled Nationwide

Monday

  • Ballyjamesduff
  • Carrigallen
  • Elphin
  • Fermoy
  • Kilkenny
  • Raphoe

Tuesday

  • Athenry
  • Ballina
  • Donegal
  • Ennis
  • Inishowen
  • Tuam
  • Tullow

Wednesday

  • Ballinrobe
  • Enniscorthy
  • Gort
  • Manorhamilton
  • Roscommon
  • Roscrea
  • Stranorlar

Thursday

  • Ballymote
  • Carnew
  • Loughrea

Friday

  • Dowra

Saturday

  • New Ross
  • Maam Cross

Dairy Marts Scheduled Nationwide

Monday

  • Kilkenny

Tuesday

Wednesday

  • Enniscorthy (2nd Wednesday Of Month)

Thursday

Friday

  • Fermoy

Saturday

Calf Marts Scheduled Nationwide

Monday

Tuesday

  • Kilkenny

Wednesday

  • Enniscorthy

Thursday

Friday

Saturday