Fullwood Joz Merlins the magic of robotic milking

Modernising the Dairy: Embracing Automation on our Farm

After two decades of milking cows the traditional way, it was time for our family dairy to embrace modern technology. Our old milking parlor system was no longer efficient for our growing herd size. We did extensive research before selecting a new automated milking system (AMS), also known as a ‘robotic milking’ system, from Fullwood Joz.

The benefits of an AMS go beyond efficiency. Cows can now milk themselves whenever they choose, up to 5 times a day if needed. This is much more comfortable for the cows compared to being milked just twice a day on a conventional schedule. High producing cows would previously have to tolerate 12 hours between milkings with full udders. The robots allow their udders time to recharge naturally.

For us farmers, the AMS frees up our schedule significantly. Time once spent milking is now used for important cow care such as hoof trimming. The system even provides individual data to track each cow’s health and productivity. We no longer need to run intensive milking shifts morning and night, which helps reduce labour costs.

Transitioning to robotic milking was a big investment, but the cow comfort and flexibility it provides makes it worthwhile. We’re proud to utilise the latest technology while staying true to our roots as a family farm. The AMS helps balance productivity and sustainability as our dairy operation evolves.

The brushes rotate to clean and brush the teats, stimulating milk let-down 

6 Fullwood Merlin robots

Making the switch

In 2008, we made the switch from a traditional tribone milking parlor to Mk2 Fullwood Merlin robotic milking system. We started with four robots initially, and added another used robot a few years later to help manage our growing herd.

The cows took to the new technology quickly once they realised they no longer had to wait in line. When a cow is ready to be milked, she simply walks into the robot stall voluntarily. A pedometer on her leg identifies her, and she’s given a tailored serving of feed based on her lactation stage and milking frequency. Lasers locate her teats, allowing a robotic arm to attach the milking apparatus gently.

The cow stands relaxed and eating while the robot milks her. On average, our cows visit the robot once for every 10 liters of milk produced. Meanwhile, the system sends useful data to our farm computer regarding each cow’s udder health, milk yield, and more for every milking.

By giving the cows more autonomy in line with their natural schedules, robotic milking has been a huge success on our farm. The technology allows us to sustainably manage our growing herd.

Original fullwood robot

Our original Mk2 Fullwood robots in 2008 and the new M²erlin installed in 2019.

the new M2erlin

Upgraing to the next generation of robotic milking technology

After 11 years of reliable service from our original 5  M2 Fullwood Merlin milking robots, we decided it was time to upgrade to the newer Fullwood M²erlin model. Over their lifetime, our first robots had completed an impressive 3 million milkings!

The new  M²erlins offered advancements like quieter and more efficient milking operation. However, installing the new robots in our existing facility while still running the old ones would require careful coordination.

With in-depth planning and support from our Fullwood dealer, D A Cottons & Sons, we developed a phased installation plan. This allowed us to swap out the old robots for the new M²erlins one-by-one while keeping our herd of 300 cows milked daily. Though complex, we successfully transitioned between systems thanks to the thorough preparation.

Adopting the latest robotic milking technology from Fullwood Joz has been an excellent decision for our dairy. The M²erlin system provides reliable, low-stress milking that makes our operation more sustainable and comfortable for the cows.

relaxed cows

The cows relaxing after milking.  In the summer the cows can come back from the fields for millking any time they choose.

cows outside

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