Update animal records on a daily basis.
For most dairy farmers it is the most natural thing in the world to immediately put all data, calving, heats, inseminations, drying off, treatments, etc. into the computer.
Then you are not only always up to date, the system can also provide much more and correct information via the well-known lists and overviews to properly manage your company and cows.
Keeping a good cow calendar provides a lot of information. Also if you decide not to inseminate a cow again and put it on Cull Decision, lists remain clear.
But sometimes it is not done because the farmer has, for example, Management Program and that data may not automatically go to DelPro.
Then it often comes down to both programs being half used.
If your program gives also good information it is okay but otherwise it would be a great pity if we miss the clear information that DelPro can offer!
Then get over it and make sure DelPro has all the information. You will enjoy this afterwards! Then just use the info from your Management program to put the data in DelPro.
What is needed for the highest daily production per VMS.
We often hear interesting stories about the average daily production of a milking robot.
Sometimes 1500 liters per day, sometimes more than 2000, some regularly reach 2500 liters and a few are milking even more than 3000 liters per robot per day.
What do you think is necessary and important to achieve a high production per milking robot?
Here I would like to add experiences and practical tips from you, so I hope for responses from you:
If this is successful, I would also like to make a list with more tips from you, for example about increasing the number of visits to the milking robot, keeping the somatic cell count low, …
Some examples of mine what is needed for high daily productions per VMS:
- High-yielding livestock, high persistence
- High quality roughage.
- Pay extra attention that newly calved heifers learn to visit the VMS soon after calving and are given time / space for this.
- Many cows with 2+ lactations
- It is therefore the intention that this list is getting longer.
- I would like to add your practical tips and experiences to this!
Added by you:
- Punctually claw care policy (for dry period and after negative energy balance period) by the skilled person.
- Short interval between calves
- Reward high-yielding cows (concentrate, space, …)
- Often push feed, also at night
- Generous, comfortable lying places
Every newly born heifer calf is a potential 100,000 liter cow….
That sounds like someone is saying “dream on”.
Because there are a lot of links in the chain along the way that can break too soon.
Can you identify weak links within your company?
Rearing – housing – first year – start of first lactation – perhaps too few cows calving for the third time – condition – claws – nutrition – housing / cow comfort.
Good rearing produces well-developed heifers that can calve at 22-24 months of age.
That is where the basis lies.
We want to take good care of the old cows. But these have also been young.
And to get old cows we have to take good care of the young stock and the younger cows by giving them plenty of space.
Go through the different stages, links, at your farm with a (feed) advisor, veterinarian.
Make note of the details
Most engineers are proud of the DeLaval VMS and how it works. They would be eager to tell what they know and what you can do to improve your workflow. What they don’t always know is what you don’t know. For example, a farmer could think that milk cups do not connect properly by a few, or more, cows is normal, or sounds that you now find normal but that are not. If the farmer doesn’t make note of the details, then the technician would have to coincidentally experience the issue in order to solve it.
So, make sure to always have your phone or a pen and notebook with you.
Make a list of things for the technician to take a look at and they’ll let you know if anything is out of the ordinary. Having the possibility to take notes would also make your work easier.
If you think of something while you’re standing behind your barn or in the middle of the field, you could just jot it down and make note of it.
Do you have a good replacement?
Do you have a manual for when you’re suddenly unavailable?
Is there someone who knows enough about your farm and your cows?
Is there someone to replace your job around the VMS, the calves or feeding practices?
In the meantime, trainees at agricultural schools and agri-business farmcare services in the Netherlands are learning about the possibilities to replace a farmer with an automatic milking system. It’s even possible to complete exams in these courses!
In general, it is smart to be a proponent of these initiatives. More important, it could prove incredibly useful for when you yourselves are suddenly unavailable.
Use the good qualities of your machine.
Currently, there are 6 to 7 milking robot brands on the market. And guess what, they all can milk cows.
Experts however, claim that each robot has its strengths.
All brands have their good and less good points.
Do you leverage the strengths of your milking robot ? You paid for it!
Consult your advisor to what extent you can use the strengths.
And if you focus on automatic milking: can you objectively choose which strengths of a brand are best for you and your company?
Work less on the computer and go see more!
Many dairy-farmers sometimes sigh during my visit: “There’s a lot of things that are possible.
I should actually be working on the computer more, but I just don’t feel like doing that.”
My idea: Don’t work more but more efficient and structured on the computer!
So: Do the 2-Minute-Check before you go cleaning the boxes, or before making your evening round . This is the easiest way to combine the eyes of the farmer with the information you get from the computer.
Also, check the ‘Feed control list’ that is tailored personal to your dairy in relation to the amount of sorts of food in the AMS and if you do or don’t have an extra feed station for concentrate in the barn.
Check this list , your personalized Feed control list, to manage the proper feeding and right concentrate fed to the right cow and if consumed.
Fourth important list is the “Milk Performance” list, to check for efficient milkings.
If you have “all time of the world go check all the given Lists.
But if you don’t: Check these four very important lists: 1. Status list, 2. Cow monitor (2-Minute-Check), 3. Feed checking list and 4. the Milking Performance List.
But these four you need to check very regularly, disciplinary, and keep a close eye on them.
Status list and Cow monitor you check a couple of times a day.
For the last two lists, make a habit to check them at a certain point in the week (Monday morning after your coffee, for example).
Now you have minimum computer work for the maximum information of your cows!
Do you want to keep more control while spending less time on the computer?
Send me a message and let me come by so we can discuss how to do that.
One udder inflammation less (or less bad), using concentrated food more accurately and you know you’ll have earned back the visit in no time!
Different Groups on VMS.
If you have the possibility to make groups in your stalls, this could be an interesting feature.
Often, groups are made according to productivity: high versus low.
To be honest, the effect can be disappointing, especially when the cows have to go from the high productivity group to the low productivity group. Not only does the ration change, but they also, again, have to go up against tough, older, or in late lactation stronger cows.
Or many heifers calve in a short time and they all have to learn robotic milking and get used to the herd.
But we do see better results if you have the opportunity to make a group of heifers together with the smaller, second calving cows. In this case, the animals remain in the same VMS group for a whole year, so no or minimal changes.
Another advantage is that these heifers don’t have to go up against bigger cows as often.
It is measured e.g. by “Vetvice” that these cows make about 10% more visits to the troughs and VMS because there are less dominant cows in the way.
That results in higher productivity and a healthier development of the young cows.
For such a group, perhaps you can choose different VMS settings, smaller or other teat liners and milking jug.