Servizio Comunitario di Informazione in materia di Ricerca e Sviluppo - CORDIS

Socio-economic aspects of automatic milking

This work package reports on the socio-economic aspects the introduction of automatic milking systems on dairy farms. A survey among 107 farmers who have invested in an automatic milking (AM) system in Belgium, Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands was carried out. A questionnaire was designed to capture the characteristics and motivations of AM farmers, farm characteristics and the implications of the introduction of an AM-system. The results summarize the motivation and characteristics of farmers investing in an AM-system and the implications for labour use and the farmers’ quality of life.

The average AM farmer is male, married, 44 years old and has about 3 children. On average, AM farms have about 87 dairy cows. Two thirds of the interviewed AM farmers state social reasons for investing in an AM-system, such as increased labour flexibility, improving social life and health concerns. AM farmers reported an average labour saving of 19.8%, which increases to 21.3% when only farms that have kept their herd size more or less constant are considered. Only few farmers disagree that AM has improved their health, while about one third has experienced no changes on their health. Two thirds of all farmers state that their quality of life has increased. Noteworthy is that the improvements in quality of life are relatively unaffected by the chosen growth strategy.

Reported by

Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Centre for agricultural and food economics
Willem de Croylaan 42
3001 Heverlee
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