Vincent Roy is the third generation of the farm Patroy and Sons. They have an MR-D2 robot and currently milk 65 cows on the robot.
“We currently have an average of 3.1 visits to the robot per cow and have an average milk production of 34kg per cow per day with an average of 160-180 days in milk. We have a potential of 80 stalls. We transitioned from a tie stall to a free stall.”
“The cows reacted very well to the change. It has been about a year since the transition. It only took about a month before the routine was established”, explains Vincent.
“Cows are a lot calmer and cleaner than before. We had a lot of cows that were not being used to their full potential. We see that changing now with the increased visits to the robot.”
“My primary criteria for choosing the MR-D2 was the relationship between the volume of milk vs. the cost. It was a big criteria for us. We had a budget, and for us going with a single stall robot it was too expensive. With our budget, we couldn’t afford to go with two singles, so we went with the double stall robot.”
"There were only two companies that could do this. We liked this one because we wanted something simple. Being attached from behind we find its almost impossible that the cow can hit it and break it. We all have some anxious cows so in that respect it is perfect.”
Vincent adds, “The adjustable feeder works really well. We have a herd with all sorts of different sizes. Going towards a free stall herd we’re looking at cows that tend to be smaller but wider. To prevent her from moving around too much in the robot this adjustable feeder has a lot of adjustability being 52 cm. Coming across a small cow is really no big deal. It even adjusts automatically now with the new 3D camera.”
“With the new version of computer, we just have to press on camera teach and we have an adjustable trough that will adjust to the right size of the cow. It is much easier for us without the remote. We no longer have to manually teach. We point on the screen where the four teats are, and the robot does the rest. The newest upgrade has made this much faster. Much more pleasant for us now. We really like it, especially when we don’t have a lot of spare time.”
Explaining more about the upgrade to his milking robot, “Over the past year we found the 3D camera upgrade made a big difference. It used to be further behind, and the new one is much closer to the end of the arm and it makes for a far more accurate attachment, especially for the rear teats. We had a lot of cows with crossed rear teats and its rate of failure is almost zero. I’m not saying that it never happens, but it is really rare. 90% of our problems disappeared with the installation of the 3D camera. We are very happy. We find that it was faster and more precise. It was really a nice upgrade.”
“Another reason we chose this robot was that it prepared the teats with a designated teat wash cup. It does a really good job of cleaning teats. After its prep procedure is done the cow is really ready to give their milk. We’re really happy.”
“Also after the new 3D camera our failed rate of attachment went down significantly. To be honest it was because we never shipped any cows out that had crossed teats. After the 3D camera upgrade, we practically never shipped a cow on our farm, and we managed to lower that figure down to roughly 2.5% to 3%. This benefits the number of visits and total milk production. “
“I’m really happy with the upgrades that happened to the robot. The screens are all very intuitive. The numbers are all really well laid out. It is quick to decide where you need to spend your time all on one main page. First, it’s the failed attempts, then it’s the milk production so the summary on one page so we can decide where to best spend our time. In that domain we are really happy. It is a crisp image and easy to see everything you need in order to make management decisions.”
“Our objectives in the future are to have around 45kg per cow per day. We know it’s an ambitious goal, but we know we have good genetics. I have every intention to get there. . . I won’t give up until I get it.”
Vincent remarks that he is “always looking to keep the somatic cell count under 150,000. It has been a year now and we have a lower count than before. We used to be around 140-150k in our tie stall, but now we are now 125k and it’s really good. We didn’t have to ship any cows on account of mastitis. We were able to take all the problem cows out of rotation and everything has been going well ever since. It is normal to ship out cows for mastitis however we never had to.”
Vincent summarizes his thoughts on his purchase of the robot, “Lower Somatic Cell, 47kg, and the visits sitting around an average of 3.4 milkings per day is the goal. In my opinion, this efficiency is where I’ll see the profitability of the robot - it will surely increase after this.”