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Chilean Dairy Installs World's Largest Robot System

12 October 2016

CHILE – Fundo El Risquillo, a Chilean dairy operaton with 6,500 cows, has signed an agreement to install 64 Voluntary Milking System (VMS™) milking robots from DeLaval to become the world's largest robotic dairy farm.

The dairy farm, owned by Agricultural Ancali and part of Bethia group, already has 16 robots running and have seen positive results. An average production of 45.2 litres per cow/day from 920 cows milked in the robotic system. This is up 10 per cent since they switched to robotic production, all while using less labour.

"The benefits have been remarkable - more production, better animal welfare and less stress for cows. This project consists of two stages. First, we compare the benefits of using robots VMS MR from DeLaval versus conventional milking systems with rotating rooms.

"We started milking 500 cows with robots and when we saw the economic benefits and that it was possible to increase the level of production by 10 per cent and reduce the stress of cows, we decided to move," said Peter Heller, CEO of Agricultural Ancali.

"First installing the next module, for 500 cows, and then modifying our facilities to robotic milking. The plan is to have our best 4,500 cows milked in robotic system, and we believe it is the right way with which grow in the future."

While many farmers see the robotic system only for small-scale operations, Mr Heller quickly calculated a positive return on investment from the first installations, in addition to delivering solutions for cow comfort, which one of the pillars of Agricultural Ancali.

The first VMS MR DeLaval began operating in October 2014. By early 2017, the VMS 64 MR will be operating by Agricultural Ancali, making it the largest robotic operation in the world.

Michigan Farm Becomes Largest DeLaval Robotic Dairy in North America

TDI Farms in Michigan, US, has signed an agreement to purchase 24 DeLaval VMS robots 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.

“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 labour,” Bryant Trierweiler explained.

“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 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.

“This project, in conjunction with Fundo El Risquillo, near Los Ángeles, Chile, strengthens DeLaval’s position as the leader in large-scale robotic dairy solutions and services,” says Fernando Cuccioli, Vice President of Market Area North America for DeLaval. “This marks the beginning of a new standard for large dairy farming in North America and we’re honoured to be the preferred solution supplier.” 

Sarah Mikesell, Senior Editor

Sarah Mikesell, Senior Editor

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