Tongala dairy farmer goes robotic


roboticThree DeLaval VMS have been installed on Peter Costello's farm, reducing labor and allowing him time to spend on other farm jobs beside milking.

Tongala dairy farmer Peter Costello installed three De Laval Voluntary Milking Systems (VMS) on his property six months ago, in what was a significant investment for the future of his business.
The decision was not taken lightly and while it has been at times stressful, he is now starting to see  the benefits of this cutting edge technology kick in.
 Peter has gone from spending seven hours a day milking to spending around three hours looking after the cows, and he can see that figure reducing even further.
I have backed right off on manual labor. There is no putting cups on, no test buckets and no herd testing which gives me more time to do other work on the farm. This system gives me greater flexibility and more time to spend with my family, Peter said.
I did a fair bit of research, I talked to a lot of farmers and I was realistic about what would happen.
It has been a big change for the cows and initially we lost a bit of production, but they have settled in now and are doing 2.3 milkings a day, Peter said.
Peter believes it will take 12 months before he sees the full benefits of the system.
 When you are one of the first people to adapt a new form of technology you expect problems. At the start there just wasnt the technical expertise available to help sort out any problems we had. There will be more people trained up soon which will help us a lot.
Peter is also the first northern Victorian to install VMS into a pasture based system (most are based on a cut and carry system.)
 We are aiming for the cows to peak as high as they can while minimising the production decline as much as possible. We are expecting the cows to produce the same amount of milk as they were in the old shed. Grass drives cow flow and quality feed drives intake.


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