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How Will This Pencil

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Northern Rancher

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Was just talking to a buddy in souther Alberta-the Hutterite colony next to him just put in a robotic milking parlor-think star Wars technology but for cows. It can milk a cow a minute-I asked him how many cows they milked I guessed 5-600. I was way off they only milk 60-that is close to a 10,000 dollar investment per cow just for the milking facility. They are starting to do silly things just like the rest of us it seems.
 

Hayguy

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I'd like to hear the other side of this,interesting enough some colonies are experiencing a labour shortage or so they say. or is it one of the many colonies who have had hog barn fires and have insurance money to spend. either way it's a lot of money on a per cow basis for sure
 

WVGenetics

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Saw one of those in action over at Mason Dixon Farms in Gettyburg, PA. They are flat out awesome to see in person, and after talking visiting with the owner I can see how they would pencil even in a small operation. They are running one robot for around 60 cows and are milking around 1100 cows completely by robot. Once trained, they will milk themselves up to 6-7 times a day during peak lactation. When they go below 2-3 times a day, they dry them off. Not only did it save labor but reduced the incidence of mastitis and increased production. They are getting more lactations out of a cow and it seems to be less stressful on them. He said it worked great for older cows. The robot even will sort cows that are in heat because it throws off their regular milking routine by a couple hours and the software recognizes that. I think he said the brand of robot they were using was a quarter million for the 60 head capacity, but I think he told me they had $10,000 invested per cow when including land, labor, facilities, equipment, etc. I thought..how can you ever make anything? but he is out of the box dairyman and has done some crossbreeding to develop a 3/4 Holstein, 1/4 ? (can't remember). They just had their first cow (crossbred) complete her 9th lactation, which is unheard of by today's standards.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eHJTTVlt4lY
 

cure

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Being that I am in the milk business as well I can see how they can be a usefull tool on small dairies but on larger ones I don't think it is very practical I milk around 250 head and I know something like this will never work for me. I would like to see what their electric bill is and also the repair bill would be I bet the maintance is a killer. As far as being better for the cows I don't believe it I milk 3 times a day and yes it did cut down on mastitis but I just sold 2 cows that were 12 and 13 years old had a calf every year since they were 2 and most of my cows make it to 8 to 9 years of age before I sell them it is just how you take care of them on how long they live
 

littlejoe

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Hoots are kinda a contradiction---they say they split colonies and buy more land to keep everybody busy---'idle hands, ...etc'---but they're plum hi tech on the ag stuff.

But when they buy a new truck, first thing they do is disconnect the radio---farm boss said it'd be nice to at least be able to listen to market reports.

Built new hog houses here a while ago----feed goes thru a tube, maybe 1 1/2 max--endless cables, little paddles. You can program every pen different, feed as many times a day as you want---and it's all just by pushing buttons--and it carrys on with that program till you change it.

Ya, they pay taxes---but i think they do it corporate. I have been in kinda a position to know some of their business----was surprised that they didn't have more cash in the till---ya, quite an operation, but if that many ag familys around here threw in togethor, most likely be quite a bit more.

Gotta admire the kids capitalism----they wus sent to town to get rid of a batch of stewing hens---50 cents a piece, give 'em away, whatever----peddled 'friers' all over town about 3 bucks a pop.....
 

gcreekrch

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I have met and got to know several Hutterite people over the years. Visited with a couple at their homes. I have found them to be salt of the earth folks when you treat them as equals and don't judge them for their beliefs.

One of them occasionally posts here and is one of the most forward thinking cattlemen I have ever encountered. We bounce ideas off each other a lot.

As with the rest of my neighbors, their business is not mine unless it directly effects me.
 

tumbleweed_texn

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When I lived in Montana I had the pleasure of getting to know some Hutterites.
If the rest of the country spent as much time worrying more about the whole instead of just themselves, things would be alot nicer. They do what needs done without complaint. They put family and community first. They may have a different approach to everyday life, but it sure seems to work for them. Plus those Hutt women are about the best cooks anywhere.

Tex
 

Whitewing

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I had a chance a couple of years back to visit a Hutterite hog operation in Manitoba. Impressive it was.

I recall the guy saying saying they were losing money on every hog they produced because the market was so lousy but I image that at the end of the tax year, they still made a profit.
 
A

Anonymous

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tumbleweed_texn said:
When I lived in Montana I had the pleasure of getting to know some Hutterites.
If the rest of the country spent as much time worrying more about the whole instead of just themselves, things would be alot nicer. They do what needs done without complaint. They put family and community first. They may have a different approach to everyday life, but it sure seems to work for them. Plus those Hutt women are about the best cooks anywhere.
Tex

Besides being good cooks they make fantastic wine... I don't know how they make it- but it will not only keep you regular, but definitely a cure-all for all aches and pains...
 

cowsense

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Our neighbour built a new dairy barn two years ago; designed for robotic milkers and he is expanding to 200 cows. Yes there were lots of growing pains; lots of tech glitches but they are quite happy with the system now. Good dairy help is extremely hard to find & keep here.....the robotic system does cut back labour requirements. Even more important it frees up some quality time for the owner and is an inducement to keep his kids involved in the business. Otherwise the 7 day workweek/ 365 days a year milking cows grinds the small operators to the point of burnout!
 

jopie

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Here is a link to a photo of the first milking robot prototype in 1982 , I don't know how to get the picture up here.
I translated the Dutch text for you.
The milking robot is a Dutch invention and as far as I know, the Dutch firm Lely is the market-leader.

http://www.deweekkrant.nl/pages.php?page=1163861

A cow is milked in 1984 in the
prototype of the robot. On the right the
computer that controls everything.

Earnewald - The original prototype of the first robot in the world comes to the Frisian Lânboumuseum in Earnewâld.
The praktijkschool Oentsjerk where in 1982 Roelof Middel and Rinke Oenema started a revolution led by a machine to develop a fully automated milking cow.
It was an idea that many thought impossible but others found undesirable. The invention fits into a long tradition of Friesian machine builders that make devices to reduce the labor on the farm.
 

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