May 8, 2018

See The First Robot Rotary In The U.S.

 |  By: Mike Opperman

Rotary robot technology has been in place in Canada for several years but just recently received approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The first dairy in the U.S. to use a rotary robot system is Hoffman’s Happy Holsteins, a 550-cow dairy owned by Kent Hoffman and his family near Peshtigo, Wis. Hoffman started milking in his new 40-stall robot parlor last November, after about six months of construction.

Hoffman had been milking in a flat-barn parlor and planned on building a conventional rotary parlor, but he made the leap to the rotary robot when he saw the benefits of the technology and potential labor savings. Right now the parlor takes about five turns per hour, so it takes just under three hours to milk the entire herd, says Mark Proeber, sales manager with Kozlovsky Dairy Equipment who worked with the Hoffman’s to install the parlor and get everything running. There’s one person in the parlor to manually attach units on the few cows that need it and make sure everything is running smoothly, and one person in the barn to push up cows. That’s about four less people than what was needed in the old parlor. Cows are milked 3X.

Proeber says Hoffman’s investment in the technology is about $70,000 per stall. At $15 to $16 per hour, labor savings alone should go a long way toward paying off the investment over time.