Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Managing automatic milking

One of the key issues in automatic milking involves practise requirements that need to be met. However, solutions for management support and performance of automatic milking tasks vary according to manufacturer preferences meaning that there is little uniformity overall.
Managing automatic milking
It is important that knowledge and development solutions regarding automatic milking systems on dairy farms in EU member states be integrated and implemented according to legislation. This impacts milk hygiene and quality, animal health and welfare, farm operation and management support requirements as well.

In terms of recognising the demands involved in operational management of automatic milking systems, the differences between conventional and automatic milking need to be understood. With conventional milking, intervals for individual cows need to be controlled, which also affects their feeding schedules.

Also in terms of cow health, more information is needed concerning detection of mastitis through the use of sensors. In addition to sensors, visual inspection is another means of determining cow health. Unattended milking and alarm unreliability are reasons for increased skill and awareness on the part of farmers. The cooling unit also needs to be maintained and cleaned to ensure that it functions properly.

It is vital that farmers become familiarised with automation and adopt secure procedure schedules that comply with legislation regulations.

Although farmer consensus regarding current systems is positive, there is still room for improvement. These involve automatic separation of abnormal milk, ensuring proper teat cleaning, and improving the monitoring of equipment. With these in place automatic milking may have the potential to surpass conventional milking in terms of both food quality and safety.

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