NETHERLANDS - 99 per cent of the 500 dairy farmers who participated in the project "Robots & Meadows" agreed that automatic milking and grazing can work well together on a farm, according to the Dutch National Dairy Association (NZO).
27 per cent of the farmers indicated that the conditions in the company have to be suitable. Key constraints are how much time the farmer can spend on improving the pasture, and available space on the farm.
The findings were presented at the closing symposium of the Robot & Meadows project. In the project, Wageningen UR, together with DLV Consultancy, PPP and Agro Advisory Valacon, developed concepts for five different types of dairy farms.
The common thread in all five concepts is regularity. The plan involves consistency in access of cows to pasture, feeding and setting up the milking robot to perform well. The concepts are designed to be implemented over a 24 hour schedule.
Grazing systems that fit well with its automatic milking system are farms where cows are offered a new plot each day. For smaller farms, the system of rotating pastures was developed. The farm is divided into three blocks which is then divided into five lots. During 3 weeks the cows get a new plot of land inside a block every day. This system was already used successfully by almost 100 dairy farmers during the Robot & Meadows project.
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