ao link
Farmers Guardian
News
Over The Farm Gate

Over The Farm Gate

This Is Agriculture - Sponsored

This Is Agriculture - Sponsored

DataHub

DataHub

Auction Finder

Auction Finder

LAMMA 2021

LAMMA 2021

Nutrition tips for robotic milking systems

Equal attention needs to be paid to concentrate fed though the robot and the ration at the feed fence to maximise milking efficiencies and performance on robotic milking systems.

TwitterFacebook
 Prof. Trevor DeVries, of the University of Guelph.
Prof. Trevor DeVries, of the University of Guelph.
Share This

Nutrition tips for robotic milking systems

That was the message from Prof Trevor DeVries, of University of Guelph, speaking as part of a Mole Valley Farmers research and development webinar for its nutritionists.

 

He said: “It is not just the feed in the robot, but the feed at the feed bunk which pays as important a role for promoting voluntary milking visits,” he said.

 

“We need to be thinking about these feeds as a whole rather than thinking about them as two separate components.”

 

Provide quality concentrate and forage

 

Prof DeVries said the concentrate fed through the robot needed to be high quality and palatable and formulated to match the type of cow traffic system operated.

 

“Ultimately, this acts as an attractant to encourage cows to visit the robot. Forage quality is also essential and will help maintain consistency of eating behaviour at the feed bunk, including frequent meals. All of these factors influence the number of milking visits to the robot.”

 

Be realistic about allocations

 

He added that it was a good idea to determine whether cows were really receiving their daily allocation of feed through the robot.

 

He said: “This will be influenced by factors such as dispensing rate, meal size, time in the robot and how fast individual cows can eat.”

 

He explained that some cows could eat concentrate at rates up to 400-500g/minute for around seven minutes. However, the average consumption rate was – 250g/minute.

 

“If a cow is milked for around seven minutes, she can only eat 1.8kg per milking on average. For systems targeting three robot visits a day on average, the average cow will be able to eat about 5.4kg per head per day at the robot.

 

“This is a good average target to aim for. The amount fed to individual cows can be altered above and below this depending on their yield and stage of lactation.”


Read More

Making grazing work with robotsMaking grazing work with robots
Breeding right type of cow to boost robotic efficiencyBreeding right type of cow to boost robotic efficiency
Cowmen Comment: Tim Gibson "They tend to assume all robot systems are housed units"Cowmen Comment: Tim Gibson "They tend to assume all robot systems are housed units"

Consider the type of cow traffic system operated

 

While all cow traffic systems can work well when managed correctly, Prof DeVries said there were different considerations with each set-up.

 

“For free access systems, the main impetus for the cow to visit the robot is the feed that is provided at the robot. This means that a palatable, high quality concentrate is essential.

 

“The partial mixed ration [PMR] provided at the feed fence would typically be balanced for 80 per cent of the herd’s average production to encourage robot visits.

 

“Recommended feeding rates of compound fed through the robot are generally between 3-8kg per cow, averaging 5.5kg per cow per day.

 

“In ’milk first’ guided systems, the PMR available on the other side of the robot acts as the main motivator, rather than the robot concentrate. This means the PMR should be balanced closer to the herd average.”

 

Typically, Prof DeVreis said this equated to an average of 1.5-3.5kg of concentrate being fed through the robot.

 

“The feeding rates should be set on an individual basis taking into account herd yield, days in-milk, forage quality and farm targets.”

 

Be careful when changing concentrate levels through the robot

 

Prof DeVries said changing the amount fed through the robot would have an impact on the amount eaten at the feed fence.

 

Some studies had shown that for every 1kg per cow per day increase in the concentrate fed at the robot, PMR dry matter intakes could reduce by the same amount, or more.

 

This, he added, highlighted the importance of understanding dry matter intakes (DMI) and not limiting DMI by how cows are rationed.

Make sure feed is always available

 

Robot visits are linked to when the PMR is fed out and is a factor which influences all housing systems, not just guided ones. And, Prof DeVries said in order to maximise the efficiency of the robots, milking visits need to be spread throughout the day to limit queuing.

 

“Feeding out regularly and pushing up the diet will ensure feed is always available and will help the cow’s time budgets,” he added.

 

Did you know?

  • A study of 791 dairy herds in Ontario, Canada, found that the odds of ketosis in multiparous cows increased 1.45 fold on farms with robots
  • A study showed that supplementing cows with molasses through the robot in early lactation improved energy balance and reduced the occurrence of recurring, positive sub-clinical ketosis tests
TwitterFacebook
Post a Comment
To see comments and join in the conversation please log in.

Most Recent

Facebook
Twitter
RSS
Facebook
Twitter
RSS