Background of Kiefland Holsteins

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Working with Robotic Farms
Chad Kieffer
Benson Farm Service, LLC
Dairy Nutritionist
Pic of farm
and pic of robots
Background of Family Dairy
Before robots:
-milked 270 cows in a double 10 parallel parlor
-6 full time employees
After installing 3 Lely A3 robots:
-milk 175 cows on the 3 robots
-milk other 100 cows in parlor
-within next year will go to 5 robots
-Currently 4 fulltime employees
Background of Family Dairy
• One Robot = 4,500 – 5,500 lbs milk per day (Ideal)
• Currently: 58 cows/robot X 86 lbs/cow = 4,988
lbs/robot
• 2.9 – 3.1 Average Milkings per cow/day
• Free Flow System
• Pelleted grain/protein mix in robot, PMR in bunk
What the Lely Robot measures:
Activity*
Rumination*
Feed intake
Weight
* = option
Milk yield
Milk speed
Milk Fat
Milk Protein
Robot visits
Box times
Per Quarter:
- Pre Milk Time
- Milk Time
- Conductivity
- Color
+ combinations of all of that ...
+ combinations with calendar and health events.
Nutrition Preparation
for Startup
• Top-dress robot pellet in parlor 1-2
weeks before startup – IDEAL
• Top-dress robot pellet on top of TMR
when fed in bunk twice/day for 1-2
weeks - OK
Things to Remember & Do as a
Nutritionist for Startup
•
What producer feels:
At startup  3 days of hell, 3 weeks of frustration, 3
months before things start clicking
•
1)
2)
3)
4)
What to provide to producer:
Assist with pushing cows first couple days
Make regular weekly visits first 3 mo.
Moral support (very emotional time)
Watch graphs very closely each few days
Things to Remember & Do as a
Nutritionist for Startup
• Do not look at milk production first as a
performance indicator
• Look at refusals and # of milkings/day first
and foremost, then production
• Get away from thinking on a herd level (one
group ration)
• Feed hfrs and cows differently in robot
• Lots of info available, so make adjustments
quicker than used to if needed
Nutrition Preparation
for Startup
• 1) Feed Speed: Optimum setting is 14-16
oz/minute (depends on if pellet or meal, meal
lower and pellet higher)
• 2) Max & Min lbs feed/visit: 4-6 lbs max
setting, 0 for min setting (default)
(this is set based on herd production and
feed table settings)
• 3) Must have feed tables set up correctly to
herd parameters (Jeff will talk about)
Cornerstones
of Feeding for Success
• 1) Ration fed at bunk is based on avg milk yield per
cow minus 15 lbs. (even more for startup, 20-25 lbs)
• 2) Robot pellet should be fed at min. of 4 lbs and a
max. of 18 lbs in robot (approx).
• 3) Have a good hard pellet that is palatable and
smells good to the cow.

“Motivation for a cow to visit the
robot is not due to pressure of udder
but the want and need for concentrate.”
Unsuitable ration
Energy requirement
Collecting cows
-> Energy
Concentrate
Energy content feed fence: average milk production
0
0
-> time in lactation
Most suitable ration
Energy requirement
-> Energy
Collecting
cows
Concentrate
Energy content feed fence:
average milk production minus 7 kg (15 lb)
0
0
-> time in lactation
Example Robot Pellet
Ingredient Composition
Description
Percent
Lbs.
Lbs/cow
GR CORN FINE
39.990
799.800
4.40
SUREPRO (LOL)
25.000
500.000
2.75
GR SOY HULLS MXDML
12.600
252.000
1.39
DEHULLED SOYMEAL..
12.428
248.558
1.37
DDGS ETHANOL
4.329
86.584
0.48
MOLASSES.MXD MEAL
2.510
50.200
0.28
AMERI-BOND 2X BG
1.043
20.858
0.11
DRY MOL NUTRI SRCE
1.000
20.000
0.11
CWG FA
1.000
20.000
0.11
AGRI-SWEET
0.100
2.000
0.01
100.000
2000.000
11.00
Nutrition Guidelines
• 1)Refusals: (avg # of times per day cow
enters robot and can’t be milked yet)
Above 1= doing well
>1.5= sign of good diet but can push energy
in PMR to get more milk
<.8= feed in PMR an issue or displeased with
robot or pellet
<.4= larger herd issues or robot setting
problems
Nutrition Guidelines
• 2) Rest Feed: (lbs of feed eligible to cow but
never dispensed per day)
• Goal: Should be half of the number of cows
per robot
• Look for if incorrect:
– Who is causing the rest feed?
– Are milkings low per cow?
– Are settings correct?
Nutrition Guidelines
• 3) Rumination: (# minutes chewing)
Goal  450-550 min. avg for herd
•
•
If >550: too much fiber in diet or full fill
If <450: concentrates or starch possibly too high
Possible adjustments:
• Change PMR
• Adjust amount of robot feed fed
• Rumination reliability should be 85 or higher on each
cow if not adjust responders or bad responder
Achievement
Important:
•
•
•
•
> 2.5 milkings a cow per day
> 1.0 refusal a cow per day
< 5 failed milkings per robot per day
>10% free time on the robot
Labor Cost vs. Robot Cost
Compare Labor Cost vs. Robot Payment
Robot - $180,000 @ 6.5% Int for 7 yrs
Payment of $32,819 / yr
*Data from Tom Anderson (FBM Instructor)
Labor Cost vs. Robot
• Robot: 4700 # per day = 1,715,500 Annually
Or: 17,000 cwts
•
So: $33,000/17,000 cwts = $1.94 / cwt
•
Or 5500 #/day = 20,075 cwts
or = $1.64/cwt.
Labor Cost vs. Robot
• One FTE – (Full Time Equivalent Person)
Should produce: 1,000,000–1,200,000
Pounds of milk annually.
• Remember the Robot: 1,700,000+ #
Annually
So the robot is replacing more than 1 FTE
Equivalent.
Labor Cost vs. Robot
• Conventional Farm  1 FTE should
manage 47 cows
• Robot Farm  1 FTE should manage
110 cows (this is still a question??)
Robotic Milking Technology
Trends I am Seeing in Robots:
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
Increased production – Similar 2x to 3x
Equal or improved SCC counts
Herd health improving
Lower Turnover rates
Increased invent–market for robot cows
Networking of Robotic users
Movement to larger operations
Increased Pg rates
Questions??
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