Robots could help change the economics and lifestyle of dairymen across the country.

At Kiefland Holsteins in Utica, Minn., five Lely Astronaut robotic milking units have aided the family owned and operated dairy in achieving those goals.

Prior to implementing robotic milkers, the dairy used a double-10 parallel parlor for 270 cows, with six full-time employees. Now, with five robots, Kiefland Holsteins is milking 280 cows and they are now down to three full-time employees. These are the reasons Chad Kieffer, co-owner and manager, listed for selecting robots:

1. Reduction of labor issues and labor cost.

2. Consistency. “A robot does the same thing over and over again.”

3. Interest in new technology. “The technology that comes with a robot and the information that is supplied is helpful in making management decisions.”

4. Improved udder health. “Individual quarter milking and conductivity both help udder health.”

5. More frequent milking. “Particularly on the early lactation, high milking cows coming in four, five or six times a day.”

6. Higher production. “Prior to the robots, we were a high-production herd. Our goal was to not lose any milk, but to go up from where we previously were.”

7. Improve social life and family time.