THE TASMANIAN Institute of Agriculture (TIA) is set to turn its focus to the growth automatic milking machines (AMS), as their take up in the state grows.
The number of Tasmanian farms operating the robotic milking systems has grown by 125 per cent, in the past three years.
Currently there are nine dairy farms (25pc of total AMS farms in Australia) operating in Tasmania.
About 2820 cows - with an estimated milk production of 1.4 million kilograms of milk solids - is projected for 2015-16.
A RoboticMilking System Focus Farm would be delivered by TIA over the next two years, supported by Dairy Australia and led by Alexis Perez.
The purpose of the project is to, “demonstrate operational and strategic decision making process on a commercial robotic milking farm,” Mr Perez said.
The Crowden family farm was selected as the focus farm for this project.
Denis and Sheryl Crowden, together with their son Marcus and his wife Zed, operate two dairy farms in Western Creek, near Deloraine; one operating under a conventional or traditional milking system and the other under a robotic, or automatic, milking system
Combined, both farms milked 470 cows and produced 222,099 kilograms of milk solids in 2013-14.
The Crowden family were interested in implementing a robotic milking system because it allowed them to convert their support block to an operational dairy without adding extra labour.
The farm was converted in 2012. Table 1 shows the details of past and projected business performance.
The Focus Farm project deliverables and community engagement includes activities such as working one-on-one with the focus farm business, an AMS focused discussion group, field days and regular media communication.
For more details contact Alexis Perez on 0418 876 089 or Alexis.Perez@utas.edu.au.
Table 1: Focus farm historical performance and targets
Crowden Focus Farm Business Performance
Key Performance Indicator 2013-14 2014-15 2015-16 (Targets)
Start calving Aug Aug Aug
Milking area (ha) 48 48 60
Peak cow numbers 205 209 240
Cows/hectare 4.27 4.35 4.00
Cows/robot 68 70 80
Cows/FTE 299 307 353
Irrigation area (%) 42 42 50
KgMS 102,826 100,000 120,000
KgMS/ha 2,142 2,083 2,000
kgMS/cow 502 478 500
Grain/cow 2.20 2.00 1.80