Home' NZ Dairy Farmer : January 2011 Contents 30 The Dairyman JANUARY 2011
• from page 28
The cows move into the dairy in the same
way as a traditional rotary. The cows wear
electronic identification collars and the dairy
is programmed to accept a cow only when an
allotted time has passed, since it was last
milked and when the dairy is ready to accept
the cow, for example the stall that the cow
would be entering was empty.
"Once the cow's on the platform it has a
start-stop rotation that takes the cow from
the entry bail position into the next position,"
Dr Kerrisk said.
The dairy then stops, where the first robot
the robotic teat-washing module uses a
cleaning cup with water and air to wash and
dry each individual teat in a similar way to
the DeLaval voluntary milking system
The dairy then moves the cow into the
next position where the automatic cup
attachment robot attaches the four individual
cups to the cow. The cow then progresses
around to the exit position where if it has fin-
ished milking the cups are automatically
removed, the cow is sprayed and then
The system is different from a convention-
al rotary and more closely aligned to the sin-
gle robot in that it is purpose-built for indi-
vidual quarter milking.
This means that there are four individual
milking cups not a cluster.
One of the keys to the system is a sensor
that sits above the cow to detect where it is,
unlike the single-box unit that positions the
cow in the correct position through use of a
feed bin at the front of the cow and a bar at
The sensor means that the robot approach-
es the cow at the right position (based on its
pre-programmed 'memory' of the cow) so
that the camera can exactly identify the posi-
tion of the teats and then the laser-guided
cups are attached in pairs.
Cow size is not an issue.
"I can show you a photo of a huge big
Holstein cow and a little Illawarra heifer
standing next to each other on the platform,"
Dr Kerrisk said.
The system monitors milk yield, somatic
cell count and milk colour for each quarter of
each cow. "When you don't have people
there you need 'eyes and ears' for detecting
mastitis," she said.
At this stage the system will not have feed-
ing stalls, although the prototype had a small
feeding bail to help keep cows interested in
coming on to it, particularly when
researchers needed cows to make multiple
The solution for farmers who want feeding
will be out-of-dairy automatic feeders.
Dr Kerrisk stressed that the automatic
milking rotary was a new dairy it was not
something that could be retrofitted to an
She also stressed that farmers would still
need to attend to a number of tasks around
milking. They would need to activate regular
washes, the number of which had not been
decided exactly, but would be likely to be
two to three times a day.
They also needed to attend to any alarms,
monitor the performance of individual cows
and undertake regular dairy maintenance
such as changing filter socks and rubber
ware. They would also need to ensure that
the dairy was available for regular contract
Unlike the single-unit robots, the system
does not yet allow for milk to be diverted
from the bulk milk vat. This means any cows
whose milk could not go to the vat would
need to be batch milked, so the farm would
need to have a separate herd of "hospital"
HOW IT FITS INTO FARM SYSTEM
Dr Kerrisk said the automatic milking
rotary would provide farmers with a number
of options from complete batch milking right
through to voluntary milking.
But farmers would need to be aware that
the throughput of the robotic rotary would
not be the same as a conventional rotary
The robotic rotary to be sold in Australia
was likely to be 24-units with the option of
either two robots (one teat preparation robot
and one automatic cup-attaching robot) or
four robots (two of each robot).
• continued page 32
The robotic rotary dairy inside the barn at DeLaval's dairy farm at Hamra, Sweden.
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