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Robot utilisation of pasture-based dairy cows with varying levels of milking frequency


John, AJ and Freeman, MJ and Kerrisk, KF and Garcia, SC and Clark, CEF, Robot utilisation of pasture-based dairy cows with varying levels of milking frequency, Animal, 13, (7) pp. 1529-1535. ISSN 1751-7311 (2019) [Refereed Article]

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Copyright 2018 The Animal Consortium. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) License,

DOI: doi:10.1017/S1751731118003117


Achieving a consistent level of robot utilisation throughout 24 h maximises automatic milking system (AMS) utilisation. However, levels of robot utilisation in the early morning hours are typically low, caused by the diurnal feeding behaviour of cows, limiting the inherent capacity and total production of pasture-based AMS. Our objective was to determine robot utilisation throughout 24 h by dairy cows, based on milking frequency (MF; milking events per animal per day) in a pasture-based AMS. Milking data were collected from January and February 2013 across 56 days, from a single herd of 186 animals (Bos taurus) utilising three Lely A3 robotic milking units, located in Tasmania, Australia. The dairy herd was categorised into three equal sized groups (n=62 per group) according to the cow's mean daily MF over the duration of the study. Robot utilisation was characterised by an interaction (P< 0.001) between the three MF groups and time of day, with peak milking time for high MF cows within one h of a fresh pasture allocation becoming available, followed by the medium MF and low MF cows 2 and 4 h later, respectively. Cows in the high MF group also presented for milking between 2400 and 0600 h more frequently (77% of nights), compared to the medium MF group (57%) and low MF group (50%). This study has shown the formation of three distinct groups of cows within a herd, based on their MF levels. Further work is required to determine if this finding is replicated across other pasture-based AMS farms.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:automatic milking system, forage, grazing, voluntary traffic, ruminant
Research Division:Agricultural, Veterinary and Food Sciences
Research Group:Agriculture, land and farm management
Research Field:Agricultural systems analysis and modelling
Objective Division:Manufacturing
Objective Group:Machinery and equipment
Objective Field:Autonomous and robotic systems
UTAS Author:Freeman, MJ (Mr Mark Freeman)
ID Code:152264
Year Published:2019
Web of Science® Times Cited:2
Deposited By:Information and Communication Technology
Deposited On:2022-08-16
Last Modified:2022-11-02
Downloads:4 View Download Statistics

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