TUMBA, Sweden — Rotary parlors aren’t new, but a fully automatic milking rotary system is. DeLaval introduced the DeLaval AMR In Hannover, Germany, last November, and is spotlighting its first on-farm installation in southern Sweden, in place since last April.
Stefan and Karin Lowenborg have been testing the AMR system since April 2010. They began by milking 300 cows on the industry-first automatic milking rotary and are now moving toward milking 500.
“Our AMR installation will be able to milk up to 90 cows per hour and operate 9 hours twice a day. This, without the need to hire new employees and make further financial investments,” the fifth generation pioneer dairy farmer said.
“We developed the system keeping large scale dairy farmers’ needs in mind,” DeLaval Vice President Business Area Capital Goods Andrew Turner told reporters recently at Odensviholm farm. “AMR farmers will be able to focus their time and energy on their own personal and business priorities rather than being confined by daily milking routines.”
Plus for employees
Karin Lowenborg thinks that the DeLaval AMR can also be a good way to attract and keep quality labor.
“People who want to work on a dairy farm are interested in the animals, so if you offer them the opportunity to focus on that aspect of the job instead of making them milk all day your farm becomes a more attractive workplace,” she said.
“And it’s also a fun job for those who enjoy working with technology and computers.”
Still pilot project
While there have been some challenges with the system along the way, since it is still a test installation, Stefan Lowenborg praises the help he has received from DeLaval service technicians.
“They have really been very supportive,” he said. “They can change components quickly if something isn’t working properly.”
The Odensviholm installation has been part of the ‘pilot phase’ in the final stages of development and the first stages of commercialization.
Pilot farms are a standard procedure for DeLaval with new milking equipment, Turner explained.
“The robotic rotary is not just an innovative piece of equipment. It represents a new way of farming. We are focusing now on making sure that the upcoming commercial installations can reap the benefits from this revolutionary technology,” Turner said.
DeLaval is testing the AMR on farms in Sweden and in Australia and plans a number of commercial releases in those two countries during 2011. It will be available in other selected markets in 2012.