New research aims to identify best practices for robotic milking technologies

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Source: Alberta Milk

New research launched in 2018 is investigating ways to maximize efficiency of robotic milking systems and optimize cow health within those systems. The project, led by Dr. Trevor DeVries of the University of Guelph, is very timely – about 11 per cent of farms enrolled in a milk recording program in Canada now use robots and the adoption of this technology continues to increase.

“Considering the number of farms using robotic technology and the potential for growth, there are still gaps in our knowledge on the best strategies farmers can use to address some of the challenges we identified in the Dairy Research Cluster 2 research,” said Dr. DeVries. “This new research will build on those results.”

The researchers will be identifying cow-level and herd level factors that influence milk production, cow health and the efficiency of robot use in a large-scale sample of dairy farms. The information will be used to identify best management practices to help farmers using robotic systems produce milk more efficiently and maintain excellent dairy cow health. This will include a specific focus on health in early lactation and feeding practices in robotic barns, based on barn design and layout, for all stages of lactation.

This is the first unbiased study of its kind to investigate robotic milking technologies on farms across all provinces, using data collected in collaboration with Lactanet. The research team includes top Canadian experts in the fields of dairy cattle health, farm management and nutrition.

“We look forward to developing some very practical independent information for Canadian dairy farmers that is science-based and supports their application of the technology in the most efficient way,” concluded DeVries.

For more information on the project, visit: www.dairyresearch.ca.

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