Robotic Barns: Build New or Retrofit?

October 4, 2018 06:57 AM
Fifty percent of robotic milkers in the U.S. are installed in retrofitted barns.

Robotic milking facilities offer their own set of cow flow opportunities and challenges. The first question farmers face, then, when considering adding automatic milking systems to whether to build new or retrofit the equipment into existing barns.

“When adding robots to any kind of facility, the key is always to think of the cow first,” says Francisco Rodriguez, Integrated Robotics Manager for DeLaval. “Always remember that if we need to sacrifice something, it cannot be cow comfort and health.”

Rodriguez estimates fully half of the robotic milking systems in the United States are retrofits into existing barns. In Canada, about 40% are.

Whether a retrofit works in an existing barn may depend somewhat on which type of cow flow pattern you select: Free flow or guided flow. Each has its own set of facility requirements that may or may not work in an existing barn.

The key is to carefully consider your options before firing up the jack hammer or starting to dig foundations for a new barn. For more information, click here.

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