The Goulet family runs the Goutel farm in Quebec. Spouses Claude and Kathy have been owners of Goutel for the past 28 years. Claude is the third generation Goulet on the farm. Pascal and Francis are the next generation. The farm has about 250 head with roughly 140-150 milking cows. They had two robots initially in May 2017 and in April 2018 they installed their third robot.
“We are very satisfied with what robotics have done for us and how these robots have changed,” remarks Claude.
Pascal adds, “The robots really brought a change in our quality of life. Much less physical labour around the farm. The ability to manage the farm has become far more simple, yet far more sophisticated. Teaching teat placement through the computer has become really simple and straight forward. Ever since the new 3D camera was installed, the failure rate of teat attachment went way down.”
“Of all the new upgrades we got, we’re somewhere around a 1-2-3% failure rate of attachment. There was a big improvement. The number of cows with late/failed milkings are down. The number of cows milked manually is way down,” said Francis.
Claude agrees, “I find that the arrival of the robots brought us a lot of flexibility. We can get the same work done sooner or later than before. The flexibility we didn’t have before and it makes a big difference. There is a bit more play in your schedule because the robot will always be working away regardless.”
“The days go by really fast, we spend less time in the barn on average than before. I would say somewhere in the ballpark of about half the time we did before, maybe less,” adds Pascal.
Francis goes on to explain, “Today we have an average of 3 – 3.4 visits per cow per day which we are very happy with. Another advantage of the BouMatic robots is the rear milking, particularly with the cows that are in the bedpack, its very useful. It’s a really big advantage compared to the other companies. Having the sorting options is really handy going left or right directly from the box. It’s a lot of fun to be able to sort how you want.”
“The fact that we have four doors. The ability to sort through the robot through the four doors that we have. It eliminates a lot of unnecessary gates and space. It’s really handy for that when you want where you want”, Claude explains.
“Each of our cows is producing around 34-35 liters of milk per day. For about 100 milking cows.”
“Proximity of the nearest dealer was a big priority for us in terms of service. Also, the fact that the milking is done from behind. Also, the fact that should something happen, we could always get by milking manually. With the others we would be stuck.”
Pascal speaks about the maintenance. “The maintenance is really easy to do yourself, easy access where you want it. Being able to open things up… there are not too many big panels to open to gain access. Accessibility is a big bonus.”
“Another big difference was the fact that the same box could be upgraded along every step of the way. It was a big motivator for us that led us going with BouMatic,” states Claude.
Agreeing, Pascal adds, “So long as it doesn’t rot away, the box can be upgraded. Everything else is just parts that can be swapped in and out as needed pretty easily. We find it very convenient in that way. “
Francis points out, “The robot is always improving. Even small things eventually get better and it is always in the right direction.”