A Michigan dairy is turning to robotics, instead of adding more labor on farm. TDI Farms of Westphalia has signed an agreement to purchase 24 DeLaval Voluntary Milking System (VMS) robots for 2017, citing advantages in animal welfare, employee development, and the farm’s longevity as main catalysts for the project. Owners Frank, Paul, and Bryant Treirweiler expect to milk 1,500 cows at the new site.
In addition to the 24 milking robots, TDI Farms has also agreed to purchase DeLaval activity monitoring tags for the entire herd, 24 swinging cow brushes (SCB), and teat dips and detergents developed by DeLaval specifically for VMS farms. The new facility will also use DelPro farm management software to record, for example quarter milk yields, robot visits and heats, helping TDI Farms make accurate and timely decisions to maintain the health of their herd.
“We decided to transition to robotic milking first and foremost for the benefit of the cows since we’ve seen improved longevity and lower cull rates when evaluating other robotic milking herds. We also have a great core of employees and prefer to develop their talents as opposed to adding more labor,” Bryant Trierweiler said in a DeLaval press release. “For the last few years, my family has been discussing the farm’s next steps. Ultimately, the conversations kept coming back to robotics as we felt it was the best fit.”
In June, Fundo El Risquillo near Los Angeles, Chile agreed to purchase 64 VMS milking robots to milk 4,500 of their cows, making it the world’s largest robotic milking farm.