Craig and Alison Moffat are inviting fellow farmers to see how they have moved to robotic milking

24 August 2022 | Int. Livestockhousing Guide |

Kirtlebank Farm near Gretna is opening its gates to curious farmers looking to see two new dairy robots in action. Craig and Alison Moffat are hosting the open day on 1st September with manufacturer DeLaval, and dealer Mathers Ltd, to offer insight into how the milking robots have improved cow health and productivity.

“Four generations have farmed here, and we have recently entered a new era by investing in two DeLaval VMS 310 milking robots. We were milking in a herringbone that my father installed in 1996, so the improvement the new building and the robots have made has been significant,” he says.

Mr Moffat has seen milk yields increase to 11,305 litres per cow whilst mastitis cases have almost disappeared, and SCCs have dropped from 175 to 85. The robots milk 127 of the 175 milkers in a hybrid arrangement that sees 48 cows milked in the old parlour to contribute milk to the family’s two milk vending machines.

“We have chosen to milk the lower yielding cows in the parlour to supply a vending machine opposite the farm and another at the Caledonia Park outlet village. The robots are better suited to maximising yield from more productive cows, and we have housed them in a new shed with a guided system that is working well,” he says.

By using a guided system, he has been able to feed less concentrate at the robots compared to a conventional free access system. This encourages the cows to eat a higher energy TMR and reduces costs. On average, a cow passes the selection gate 11.5 times and is only given access 2.8 times a day. “Finding reliable staff and the amount of time we were dedicating to milking was unsustainable. The cows are happier and healthier as a result of choosing their own milking patterns and I have more time to focus on AI and foot trimming,” he says.

The farm has also installed DeLaval Repro, a progesterone testing system that takes daily samples from milk for heat detection.  “We load cassettes of sample sticks that the system uses to collect and test milk from each cow individually. The data is fed into the DelPro management system which gives us information about every cow. It is more accurate and has made heat detection so much easier,” he says.

On 1st September 2022 from 10am – 3pm, Craig and Alison invite curious farmers to see their DeLaval robotic milking system at Kirtlebank Farm, Rigg, Gretna, DG16 5JE. To book a place on the farm tour and hear how they are benefitting click here or call local DeLaval dealer Mathers Ltd on 01387 254171 or 01228 514161.

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