Automatic milking systems
Automatic Milking Systems (AMS) enable dairy farmers to address two key challenges:
- Availability of labour
- Lifestyle associated with dairying
Automatic milking system benefits
Max Roberts talks about AMS and the benefits they offer to dairy farmers and the industry:
Much of the Australian dairy industry is pasture-based. Any AMS system must rely on voluntary movement of cows to and from the paddocks, and be able to handle large herds. Current research is examining the constraints for successful implementation of AMS into the Australian dairy industry.
Single box AMS units
Automatic milking systems have been used commercially overseas for many years. In Europe, over half of new milking machine installations involve automation. These AMS are single box units with the capacity to milk about 70 cows each.
Only a small number of dairy farmers in Australia have implemented the AMS single box unit on their dairy farms.
Dairy farmer experience - read more
AMS research program
Traditional AMS are single boxes developed for the European market, which has small herds, often housed indoors. The Future Dairy project, funded in part by Dairy Australia, has proven that single boxes can operate effectively under Australia’s pasture-based systems, achieving both high pasture utilisation and acceptable AMS unit utilisation.
Management Guidelines for Pasture-based AMS farms (PDF, 2.9MB)
Produced by the FutureDairy project, this is essential reading for anyone seriously contemplating the installation of an automated system.
Learnings around Automatic Milking System adoption on-farm (PDF, 832KB)
Dr Kendra Kerrisk and Mr Bevan Ravenhill presentation for the 2010 Australian Dairy Conference, University of Sydney, FutureDairy project
Further research in the FutureDairy project has led to the development of a robotic rotary dairy capable of milking at least 300 cows. The prototype was launched in November 2010 and was commercially available to Australian dairy farms in 2012.
Robotic Rotary - Automatic milking for larger herds (PDF, 416KB)
The world's first robotic rotary dairy, developed by DeLaval in collaboration with Australia's Future Dairy project, was revealed in Germany and Australia in November 2010.
View a video demonstration of the robotic rotary: