NSW DPI releases AMS video

Aug 2, 2016

NSW DPI’s Development Officer for Robotic Milking Systems, NIcolas Lyons, talks about robotic milking systems and precision technology in the Australian Dairy Industry. The video includes some great drone footage.

Narrative from the video:

“Automatic milking systems, also known as AMS or robotic milking, arrived for the first time in Australia in 2001.
In most of the farms that have adopted this technology, cows are kept outside and obtain the majority of their annual requirements from grazed pastures or forages. They are therefore referred to as ‘pasture-based AMS’.

The most common and reliable incentive used to encourage cows to move voluntarily throughout the farm system is feed.
Pasture-based AMS farms are usually divided in 3 areas that are allocated to cows over a 24h period. This is also known as ‘3 way grazing’ or ‘ABC Grazing’. The herd’s daily diet allocation is split across the 3 areas and cows are drafted to each grazing area for approximately a third of the day. Cows can voluntarily walk to and from the dairy during that time.
As pasture is depleted, cows start leaving the allocation and walk to the dairy. It is not uncommon to see cows walking in groups to the dairy.

Cows are only allowed to enter the dairy when they have milking permission, based on criteria such as time since last milking or expected yield. If milking permission is denied, cows are directed to the current pasture allocation available at that time. The cows enter the dairy and the robots take care of all the milking related tasks. Milking therefore becomes a background activity and the farmer can dedicate part of the day to other tasks.

At a given time, the next pasture allocation will become available and any cow exiting the dairy will be directed to this new allocation.
Therefore, depending on the time of the day it is very common for cows to be grazing across two separate allocations simultaneously.
As part of the daily routine, farmers need to monitor the computer to check reports and ensure that any cows that have not returned voluntarily from each allocation after a certain period of time are manually herded to the dairy facility. This activity is called ‘fetching’ or ‘sweeping’.

Whilst 3 way grazing is most typical in Australia, some farmers might choose to have either 2 or 4 allocations over a 24h period, whereas others might decide to replace one grazing allocation with a ration offered on a feedpad.

The number of grazing allocations and feedpad access can be changed depending on the season and feed availability.
Pasture-based AMS farmers become experts in manipulating type, frequency, timing, size and location of feed to manage cow traffic in order to ensure target milk production and system utilisation are achieved”.

For more information, contact Associate Professor Kendra Kerrisk, FutureDairy project leader ph 0428 101 372, email kendra.kerrisk@sydney.edu.au or www.futuredairy.com.au

Media contact: This media has been released by Monks Communication on behalf of the FutureDairy project.
Lee-Ann Monks ph 07 5450 0946 or 0419 349 244 email: media_releases@monkscom.com.au.