Robot FAQs

The Advanced Robot Team tell us the most frequently asked questions they get from customers before they start working with them as well as what some of the common answers might be...

Robot FAQs

1. Why is paying more attention to the transition period on robots necessary?

Transition is crucial for every system aiming for optimum performance. Increasing yields, especially on some AMS herds, can place extra emphasis on getting the transition right. We typically observe higher and earlier peak milk yield, and with an effective transition management program in place, we can take advantage of this yield without any downside to health and fertility. Identifying when transition is not quite right is critical, but fortunately, AMS offers us a wealth of data to help us make quick decisions when needed.

2. Should fertility change on robots?

The answer depends on your starting point and understanding the economics of poor and excellent reproduction performance! Good nutrition management offers significant potential to optimise fertility performance. Higher production should not come at the cost of fertility. Absolutely critical is finding the balance between robot concentrate feed rate and the ration at the trough. This is all too often the bottleneck on many farms. Fertility performance analysis and review are key to achieving optimum days in milk and a level calving pattern, which helps drive robot and time efficiency!

3. Why is lameness prevention important in a robot system?

Milk yield and therefore profitability in robotically milked herds are driven by the number of milkings per cow. To achieve an average of over 3 milkings per cow per day, cows typically need to visit the robot between 5 and 6 times as some of these visits result in refusals. The difference from parlour-milked herds is that these visits are voluntary, so poor mobility isn’t hidden by staff moving cows to the milking facility regularly. We know that lameness and poor mobility are painful conditions, and cows with poor mobility have altered behavior. This leads to lower dry matter intakes, altered lying times, and reduced milk production. We need cows to be pain-free, healthy, and confident to achieve the optimum number of visits to the robot and maximize lying times, feed intake, and ultimately milk production.

4. How do you score mobility in a robot system?

Mobility scoring in robotically milked herds can be challenging as cows aren’t moving simultaneously through a single location on the farm as they would be with parlour-milked herds. We also don’t want to impact animal behavior as this can affect visits to the robot. The gold standard is to mobility score the herd every 2 weeks. Use gates or a team of people to split the building into sections and move quietly and calmly within each section to get every cow to rise and walk a few steps at a normal walking pace on a flat, non-slip surface. Any cows with impaired mobility can be recorded and prioritized for attention at the next foot trimming session. Any visibly lame or scored 3 cows should be treated within 24 hours of identification. Move through all sections of the building until all animals, including dry cows, have been scored. In between mobility scores, cows that start to visit the robot less frequently can be identified and inspected for any evidence of impaired mobility.

5. How many cows collected is too many?

A common question which actually has no exact answer, but we do give a guide to our clients: 2-3 cows per robot per collect is achievable on an all-year-round calving system. More importantly, here are some key factors that will minimise animals repeatedly needing to be collected. Training heifers - evidence shows us repeatable success by our clients who collect heifers 3 times per day at the start of lactation. Persisting with this practice results in minimal heifers still being collected at day 14 - a worthwhile investment of time and pays dividends when we see heifers settling into a good routine. Heifer performance really excels on those that reach 3+ visits as soon as possible.

If you've got a question to ask our robot team, just give us a call on 015242 63139 or email


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