World's first robotic rotary parlor announced

Hoard's Dairyman: 

World's first robotic rotary parlor announced

Date: 
Fri, 11/19/2010

Once upon a time, all cows were milked by hand and the job got done just fine. Then one day technology brought a new tool for dairy producers to consider: milking machines. The evolution of technology never stops, so in 1992 another option arrived to consider: individual robotic milking stalls.

Beginning in 2012 in Europe and Australia, dairy owners will again have a new technological tool to consider when DeLaval brings the first automated rotary milking parlor to market featuring robotic teat preparation, machine attachment, and postmilking teat spraying. The company made the announcement November 16 at the huge EuroTier farm show in Hannover, Germany.

Like most new technologies, it won't be suited for everybody. But the progress and trend it represents will compel most to examine and consider if and how it might benefit their business some day.

With the AMR (Automated Milking Rotary) system, DeLaval is targeting 300- to 800-cow herds -- specifically those whose management is highly detail-oriented, progressive, thrives on data collection, and doesn't cut corners on routines or protocols. It admits it will be selective in who AMRs are sold to.

Relatively long attachment times will limit milking throughput to a maximum of 90 cows per hour, even in its maximum configuration of a 24-stall platform and five robotic arms — two for teat preparation, two for machine attachment, and one for teat spraying. It is a stand-alone new construction system, not a retrofit. Its herringbone format means machines are attached from the side, and all robotic arms are located inside the rotary's inside opening.

Not even a hint of pricing information has been revealed.