|Farmers||Stefanie et Felix Roder|
|Number of milkings per day ||2,7|
|Milk weight ||1575|
Stefanie and Felix Roder met at agricultural college and have been a couple ever since. They took over the dairy farm from Stefanie's parents in 2014. On the 190 ha farm, they do everything themselves and currently keep 63 cows and their offspring.
Since 2017, the couple have set up a small self-marketing business around a milk filling station and some regional products. Felix says: "This is more of a public relations initiative than a source of income. It encourages locals to visit our farm on a regular basis, giving them an insight into the life of a farmer. The stereotype is often far off the mark."
In order to improve quality of life through greater flexibility, back in 2017, Stefanie and Felix started thinking about automatic milking systems and looked at different systems in action at their peers’ farms and compared their advantages and disadvantages.
Then, in the summer of 2018, they opted for an MR-S2 milking robot from BouMatic Robotics. Stefanie says:
"BouMatic Robotics was the only manufacturer to milk the cows from behind. I was immediately taken by the compact design of the machine. We were able to set up the robot in our old free-stall barn with very little construction work and found an optimal location for both cow traffic and for us as the operators of the machine. The box for the cows is very open due to the four gates and thus easily visible for the cows in the barn. The animals are positioned in the box for milking and still have visual contact with the entire herd. Another great advantage is that the animals can be easily selected from the box into the straw yard. All this saved us a lot of costs and we have the impression that, with the MR-S2, we had to make as few compromises as possible when switching from a conventional tandem milking parlour to a functioning milking robot.
At the end of November 2018, the robot was delivered and set up within one day and connected to the concentrate feeding system. The cows were then milked for almost a week on half of the tandem milking parlour. Although this was a higher workload in the short term, it had an enormous advantage when milking started on the robot. The animals were used to the box as an "automatic concentrate feeder" and robotic milking then only needed to be added. On Tuesday, the 4th of December, half of the herd started robotic milking. Roy, the technician from BMR, who was there to monitor the milking process, was able to return to Emmeloord on Thursday.
Today, almost half a year after first entry into operation, Stefanie sums up their experience:
“It really has lived up to all our expectations. We’ve achieved our main objective of making milking more flexible. On New Year's Eve, for example, we were able to take a short holiday with peace of mind. The herd is milked automatically with the double grabber and the latest 3-D camera. Only one animal will have to go, just because the rear teats are so narrow that no robot can attach automatically. Until this cow is sold, it is milked manually twice a day. But even that is possible with the MR-S2 without any problems.
The cell counts were slightly higher during the acclimatisation phase, but are now back down to around 150,000 as before. The bacterial counts are okay. The robot achieves an average of 2.7 milkings per animal per day and the milk cooler contains around 1,500 litres of milk per day.
The robot runs almost without disruption. A big shout out to our service partner MELKTECHNIK LAUTERBACH. The cooperation has been excellent, both during installation and during operation. In January we had a fault message on our mobile phone at half past one at night. The technician from MELKTECHNIK LAUTERBACH was there within an hour and was even in a good mood when he came and got the compressor running again.
We can only recommend the MR-S2 and the staff at Lauterbach.”
It ticks all the boxes as far as our expectations are concerned.