On March 13, 2012, a free robotic milking workshop will be held at the Kellogg Biological Station at Hickory Corners, Mich. This program is targeted at dairy farmers considering robotic milking, extension educators and others working in the agricultural industry with an interest in robotic milking.
The workshop will run from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. in the Kellogg Biological Station Terrace Room, second floor of KBS Academic Building; 3700 E. Gull Lake Drive, Hickory Corners, MI 49060.
The workshop will begin with a presentation by Dr. Diana Stuart, Michigan State University Department of Sociology, and Dr. Becky Schewe, Mississippi State University Department of Sociology, on the benefits and obstacles farmers face during their transition to robotic milking technology. Industry and producer panels will follow the opening presentation.
The industry panel will include representatives from companies currently selling robotic milking equipment in Michigan. The producer panel will include dairy farmers from Wisconsin, Indiana and Michigan who have successfully made the transition to robotic milking. An optional tour of the KBS dairy will follow the workshop.
Automatic Milking Systems, commonly referred to as robotic milkers, were developed in Europe to address labor issues on dairy farms and became available there in 1992. This technology was introduced to the U.S. in 2000, and in 2009 the MSU Kellogg Farm and Dairy became the second farm in Michigan to install robotic milkers. Currently, eight dairies in Michigan are using robotic milking technology with additional farms planning to install robotic milkers in the near future.
Robotic milking differs from conventional milking systems in that it is a voluntary system that allows cows to set their own milking schedule. Because the robots milk the cow, farmers have more flexibility in how they use their time and more time to devote to farm management or other activities. In addition, robotic milkers collect and organize information on milk quantity and quality and cow health to help farmers make better herd management decisions.
If you have considered robotic milking technology for your farm or work with farmers currently using robotic milking or considering robotic milking, this program is for you. There will be plenty of time in the program for your questions.
This is a free event but registration is requested.
Refreshments will be provided. If you have questions or would like to register, contact Mat Haan at 269-671-2360 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Additional information, including directions to KBS, can be found at the KBS website.