Yes, I know its only been one week but you need to celebrate small victories, right?
Actually, the week went amazingly well!
"Better than expected" is what I would like to say but honestly, we had NO idea what to expect!
All we know is that the cows are loving it!
The best indicator is their milk production. If you want to know if a cow is happy, stressed, comfortable, sick, healthy, if she's eating right- you look at how much milk she makes that day. Our cows have been averaging around 85 lbs of milk every day for the last few years.
The average pounds of milk for today at SwissLane 2 (Robot Dairy) was 102 lbs!!
It took about 8 hours to haul all 350 cows from SwissLane 1- only 8 at a time.
This was the first cow milked last Tuesday.
Cows are creatures of habit to the tenth degree. Anything new is such a big deal for them! So, a new barn AND being milked by a ROBOT was a lot for them to take in. We had a crew of 16 people (4 at each robot) for the first day to help usher the cows into the robot to be milked. They were so hesitant!
For the first milking, the Robot had to be trained too!
We had to sanitize the udder
enter the cows ear tag number and steer it so it could find the teats.
The robots scan the cows ear tags so each time she comes in it will remember the shape of her udder and teat placement then it will automatically sanitize and place the milker on the udder. (If you look closely at the picture above you can see the laser on the udder.)
One of the incentives to get the cows into the robot- besides having a full udder- is they get a little treat to eat while being milked. There is a little trough in the robot and it will dump a certain amount of grain in there depending on how much milk she gives and how many times she is milked that day.
Some of them have to be limited on how many times they get milked because they will just come in to have a snack so the robot just kicks them out!
It is just amazing how much information we have access to! We can tell which quarter of the cows udder produces the most or how much she weighs at each milking. We can even track how often a cow is chewing her cud!
High quality milk is the most important thing on our dairy farm. The robot uses a laser to scan the milk to check for inconsistencies and color. If it senses bad quality milk it will dump the milk and alert the herd manager.
It is so fun to watch the cows enjoying their new back rub brushes! Merry Christmas girls!
The most amazing thing that I've seen this week had nothing to do with the robots though....
Over this past week there were 52 people who came to help us with this monumental endeavor. I was overwhelmed by the support from the farming community, our family, and friends. We are so blessed.