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Economic Impact of Automatic Milking Systems on Dairy Farms

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  Paper number  023114,  2002 ASAE Annual Meeting . (doi: 10.13031/2013.10459) @2002
Authors:   C. Alan Rotz, Colette U. Coiner, Kathy J. Soder
Keywords:   Milking systems, Automatic milking, Robotic milking, Simulation, Economics, DAFOSYM, Dairy farm

A farm simulation model was used to determine the whole-farm effect of implementing automatic milking systems on farm sizes of 30 to 270 cows. Over the long-term, the adoption of automatic milking provided a small gain in annual net return at farm sizes of 50-60 cows with a loss of $0-200/cow on other farms. This economic difference between automatic and traditional milking systems was least on farms where the herd size was well matched to the capacity of the milking system (about 60, 110, 170, and 230 cow herds). Milk production level of the herd had little effect on the economic difference between traditional and automatic systems, but this difference was reduced if a substantial increase in production was maintained through a greater milking frequency with automatic milking. A relatively small reduction in the initial cost of automatic equipment, an increase in the economic life of the equipment, or a large increase in the value of milking labor improved the economic return of an automatic system relative to traditional milking systems over all farm sizes.

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