Robots in the cow shed


Today, Lely calculates that more than a million cows around the world are milked unassisted by Astronaut robots and many more are similarly milked by systems from DeLaval, Fullwood, GEA and SAC of Denmark. Source: Farmers Weekly UK

These manufacturers anticipate that by 2025, half of all dairy cows in north-west Europe will be milked by robotic systems, with robot arms for rotaries and conventional parlours adding to the population of today’s box-type designs.

Feeding routines are also undergoing the robotic revolution.

Lely’s Vector and the Triomatic products from Trioliet both mix and dispense food without the need for a tractor and man on the front.

Feed ingredients are held in bunkers, which can be replenished in three weeks – the sum total of the man-hours involved.

A computer system is programmed to dispense ingredients for different feed mixes, leaving the autonomous diet mixer-feeder to quietly get on with delivering the ration. Farms content with a simpler approach without the major investment needed in the bunker infrastructure can opt for Schuitemaker’s autonomous self-loading diet feeder.

The Innovado collects maize silage from an outdoor clamp using a ‘shaving’ rotor and can take on board minerals and other ingredients from overhead hoppers.

It then follows pre-defined routes between the clamp and cattle sheds using a combination of RTK GPS and buried transponders.