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Designing robotic milking facilities for non-lactating and transition cow management

Jeffrey Prashaw for Progressive Dairyman Published on 29 September 2017

I’ve been fortunate to help hundreds, maybe more than a thousand, farmers plan and design robotic milking facilities and now more than ever we are able to seriously consider, if not fully implement, non-lactating and transition heifer and cow management into the plans.

This thrills me because the barn design is able to provide farmers with more management tools to potentially unlock higher milk production and labour efficiency.

Naturally, this comes at a cost with more building footprint and fit-out (stall dividers, fences, etc.) but heifers and cows will greatly benefit from fewer movements and regroupings, grouped in dedicated pens so management can better tend to their specific needs, and introduction to the milking robot in the pre-fresh phase leading to familiarity and lower stress when moved to a lactating group.

Over the years we have probably wildly overdesigned these components of barns, as well as missed the target on some occasions. Through it all, though, we have certainly learned a lot, and unlearned some things too.

The objective of this article is to present a 3D rendering of a relatively modest robotic facility design with non-lactating and transition heifer and cow features so readers may understand the logic behind the groups and their locations in the barn.  end mark

Prashaw facility

Click here or on the image above to view it at full size in a new window. 

Jeff Prashaw, AIA
  • Jeff Prashaw, AIA

  • Project Design Manager
  • Automatic Milking Architect, SCNA
  • DeLaval Inc.
  • Email Jeff Prashaw

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