Many of the developments in production agriculture of the 19th and 20th centuries focused on the automation of routine tasks to improve consistency and labor efficiency on farms. Multiple reasons have led to the increase in use of automatic milking systems (AMS) in the Upper Midwest U.S. in recent years; many of which include factors surrounding the issues of labor and human health, as well the opportunity for improved herd management. Farms in this study were using AMS in a variety of facility designs, including both free flow and guided flow systems, which appear to have been implemented successfully when managed well. From our analyses of milk yield, milking frequency, failed milking visits to the AMS milking unit, and refused visits to the AMS milking unit, it appears performance of primiparous cows was lagging relative to the performance of multiparous cows, which may be due to challenges adapting to the system in early lactation. Further research should be conducted to develop recommendations to help improve the performance of primiparous cows in early lactation and therefore the efficiency of milk production with AMS.
University of Minnesota M.S. thesis. August 2017. Major: Animal Sciences. Advisor: Marcia Endres. 1 computer file (PDF); vi, 103 pages.
Housing, Management and Factors Associated with Efficiency of Automatic Milking Systems on Midwest U.S. Dairy Farms.
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