Friday, January 6, 2012

Robot Dairy- Month One

--An update on the first 5 weeks at the Robot Dairy--
I can't believe it has been 5 weeks already! It has been quite a ride! While it has been challenging both physically and mentally for our team- but nothing beats walking into the barn at the new dairy! You can just sense that the cows love it there.
The cows have been averaging right around 97lbs of milk per day and milk quality is excellent (SCC under 100,0000)!
I do need to mention here that we hand-picked these cows from our herd. They are all younger (1st or 2nd lactation) cows too because the older ones are more set in their ways and may take longer to train. After the first week we did end up taking about 10 cows back to the parlor because their udder was just not the right shape for the robot or they were just weren't getting it.
At start-up we had 360 cows to train and since we have been adding 10-20 cows every week. In a few more weeks we will finally be at capacity- 500 cows. What this means is that there are 10-20 cows every week that have needed to be trained. This will be the case too after a cow has her first calf she will need to be trained. It takes about 1 week for the cows to "get it" so until then they need to be ushered to the robots 3 times per day.
Some other firsts this week:
-The first cow to go into the "sick" pen:(
We have a separate pen for cows who need extra attention located right next to the vet office. The vet came to check her out and she's on the road to recovery. Until she is 100% the robot will be dumping her milk.
Uploaded from the Photobucket Android App

-We were able to move cows into the heifer and dry (the ones that don't give milk)cow barns at the Robot Dairy today!
Uploaded from the Photobucket Android App
This means that the biggest project in the history of SwissLane Farms is wrapping up!
It has been great to work with such good people from our community to bring this dream together.
We want to express true appreciation for:
Kaeb Sales
High Tech Dairy
RA Holmes Construction
Steadfast Construction
Huderman and Son's Redi-Mix Inc
Skyline Electric
Sikkema Equipment
GEA Norb-Co Equipment
Bakker Welding & Mechanics LLC
Timpson Transport
Kyle's Computer Solutions
Huisman Construction
Great Lakes Concrete Pumping
Brink Consulting

It was quite a challenge making sure things stayed on schedule but we couldn't be more thrilled with the focus and professionsalism that each of these businesses brought to the project. And guess what.... we are already talking about Phase 2 of the Robot Dairy!!