UW-Platteville Pioneer Farm is expecting to have two new Lely Astronaut A5 robotic milkers installed and operating by this coming summer.
The dairy center was originally built in 2006 with a double-five herringbone parlor on the north side of the barn and two robots on the south side. However, since 2009, all cows have been milked through the herringbone parlor. The new Lely robots will be installed where the two previous robots were in the barn. The support of the Dairy Innovation Hub was instrumental in securing the new robotic milkers at Pioneer Farm and expanding teaching, research and outreach activities. In a recent interview, Dr. Steiner, Director of Pioneer Farm stated, “The robotic milkers offer many new opportunities. Research and education will be possible through comparison of two different milking systems at the farm. Students can learn more about technology in agriculture with the expansion of research on robotic milkers.” Dr. Steiner went on to say, “More outreach for community members and students will be available through the installation of the new robots.”
The robots on the farm are not only going to benefit faculty, staff, students and community members, but also the cows at Pioneer Farm. Cow comfort will increase since the cows’ movement will be free-flowing, allowing them to determe when they want to be milked. The robots are expected to decrease stress on the cows.
Employees at the farm may see shifts in their work schedules since milking will not require as much labor. Labor may be transitioned to other areas of the farm to help ensure cow comfort.