FutureDairy is an R&D program aimed at helping Australian dairy farmers manage the challenges they are likely to face during the next 20 years.
As one of the big challenges is the availability of labour and the associated lifestyle issues, FutureDairy’s current focus is on automatic milking systems, or ‘robotic milking’. While robotic milking technology is now in wide use overseas, there’s less experience with automatic milking in grazing-based farming systems such as in Australia, particularly with larger herds.
FutureDairy’s research is investigating the real impact of automatic milking on all aspects of cow, herd and farm performance.
In addition, we are supporting farmers and their advisors to adapt their farming systems to automatic milking. We are developing tools and resources for farmers and providing direct support through group activities, on-line communication and individual advice when needed.
The project team is based at the University of Sydney’s Camden campus.
Single box robots, multi-box robots and the AMR™ are collectively termed Automatic Milking Systems (AMS™) since they all allow for full voluntary cow traffic, remote supervision and milkings to be distributed through the 24-hour day. Whilst it is recognized that there is another robotic rotary on the market (the GEA Dairy ProQ) this rotary does not allow for the same type of operation. With the Dairy ProQ cows are required to be fetched to the dairy and on-site human supervision is required. Given the degree of human supervision, the Dairy ProQ is considered to offer robotic cup attachment but is not an automatic milking system.