Newspaper article Daily News (Warwick, Australia)

Probus Views Robotic Dairy

Newspaper article Daily News (Warwick, Australia)

Probus Views Robotic Dairy

Article excerpt

ROSE City Probus Club and their friends had a treat recently when they travelled to Dennis' Robotic Dairy, about 10km south of Beaudesert, at Tamrookum.

Members from the Beaudesert Probus club joined the tour enroute to the dairy. Morning tea provided a welcome break for all, after an early departure from Warwick.

The Dennis family has been milking cows on their Tamrookum property since 1936, when they milked by hand and delivering milk by horse and cart.

Production increased from about 30 cows milked in a day to more than 150 in eight hours, when a herringbone dairy set-up was installed in the 1970s.

In 1991 the Dennis farm installed a rotary set-up that could milk about 300 cows in an hour.

However, at a time when Greg Dennis was battling depression, an even more efficient system led Greg to the latest technology, when the dairy became one of about four robotic dairies in Queensland and one of about 30 in Australia, an activity proving instrumental in his recovery.

After much research, four Lely robots, originating from the Netherlands, were installed on the property in October 2010.

Work then began to change the habits of his 220-plus herd in order to establish a completely automated milking system.

The movement of the cows to the barn for milking is dictated by their feeding habits.

An electronic chip identifies the cow and while it stands on a gel mat in preparation for milking, each robot drops a percentage of the cow's daily intake of grain into a trough, feeding the cow while milking takes place.

The amount of grain fed is determined by each cow's milk production, calculated by the computer system.

The arm of the robot is directed by a laser beam to line up the teat cups, according to the cow that has entered.

Rotary brushes clean and wash the area, prior to the attachment of the teat cups, and milking begins.

Milk is delivered at body temperature and piped to the bottling area for treatment. The four robots milk 280 cows a day.

All newborn calves are removed from their mothers and fed from birth on the automated system.

Greg Dennis claims the environment is quieter and calmer than previously, with cows choosing their own milking times, as the dairy operates 24 hours a day. …

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