Farm Overview: John Wolf, Maple Lawn Farm, New York, US

TheCattleSite article Automatic Milking: How Effective Is It? looks at the benefits of automatic milking machines. Junior editor, Charlotte Johnston interviewed John Wolf, a dairy farmer in the US.
calendar icon 20 October 2009
clock icon 2 minute read

Maple Lawn Farm, New York, US

  • Milks 375 cows
  • Yields average 22,000 pounds (approx 9695l)/cow/year
  • 2 full time men (excluding calf feeding)
  • 7 robots
  • Averages 2.9 milkings per day
  • Achieves on average three lactations per cow
    John Wolf

  • Fourteen months ago, John Wolf bought his first five robots. Back then he was milking 275 cows. Whilst watching his milk yields increase steadily over the following months and herd health improving, Mr Wolf, who farms with his parents, discovered that the machines were every bit as good as he had hoped for - in fact better. Realising he could not cut back on any more labour as it would create scheduling problems, he decided to increase his herd and buy two more machines!

    Since then, Mr Wolf, who also grows a large acreage of crops including wheat, silage, alfalfa and other grains has not looked back. He has seen huge savings on production costs, saving 200 hours of labour a week whilst increasing the herd by 100 cows.

    Management on the farm has changed, with staff working in a clean and tidy environment and higher yielding stress-free cows. He admits that the increases in milk yields have so far been relatively small, however, he expects these to increase further when the unit is working to its maximum potential of 390 cows.

    For Mr Wolf, the labour savings have been the biggest benefit - not only has it cut labour costs but it has increased the reliability of his labour supply.

    Looking back, Mr Wolf jokes that experience has taught him not to go against Lely's (the manufacturer) advice when introducing cows to the machines during the initial stages.

    October 2009
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