Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Integrating automatic milking

An integration of knowledge and development of solutions regarding the effects the technological innovations of automatic milking systems have on dairy farms in EU member states has been examined.
Integrating automatic milking
The health conditions of the cows in reaction to the Automatic Milking System (AMS) was one of the important aspects examined. This took place across three countries: Denmark, the Netherlands, and the UK with fifteen herds of cows from each country.

Before AMS was installed, each farm was visited at least twice and after installation up to six times in order to arrive at the most precise assessments. Assessments were made on body and teat conditions and locomotion. Data from milk production, milk quality, animal records, cell count, fertility, etc. were then gathered. Furthermore, data were collected on possible infections, diseases and conditions that could affect milk quality and production.

As a result of all this, there were many significant findings. Body conditions did not vary as much in response to the introduction to AMS as they did between the countries themselves. With regard to body weight in the UK in particular, fat cows became fatter and thin cows became thinner but this could be contributed to lack of proper feeding management.

No major changes were seen with locomotion three months after AMS was installed and in the end, locomotion increased in five herds but also decreased in five herds. Also, little changes were noticed in terms of cow fertility. The only significant deterioration worth noting occurred in average milk cell count, since only two herds produced better quality milk.

From the data available to date, there have been no major problems concerning the switch from conventional milking to AMS. The length of the transition period will be the paramount test in terms of AMS success in the future. If all goes as planned, AMS implementation will result in a smooth introduction to automatic milking with positive effects on farming conditions, the well-being of cows and milk quality. Furthermore, AMS will lead to the acceptance and compliance with the EU and national legislation.

Related information

Follow us on: RSS Facebook Twitter YouTube Managed by the EU Publications Office Top