Ngāi Tahu Farming is trialling two different trellis systems installed with an eye to eventual robotic harvesting.
The 600-cow farm opened its doors to the public last month as it started milk production with the DeLaval Automated Milking Rotary (AMR).
Finnmilk was established in 2013 by shareholders Ari Teppo, Katja and Juhani Korkiamäki and Petter Sandelin. They have experience with robotic milking since 2003 when they installed several DeLaval voluntary milking systems (VMS) on their respective farms; milk yield is high with an average of over 10,000kgMS.
“We did not need convincing of the benefits of robotic milking as we have been advocates of that since our DeLaval VMS installations in 2003,” says Teppo.
“We wanted to take a key step forward in keeping labour costs low even for a herd size larger than 300. We explored different options and the alternative was a 50-bail parallel rotary. For that system one would need a labour force of around 4-6 persons more, and that really was not an option for us.
“Another big plus for us was our longstanding relationship with DeLaval. They really understand us and our needs.”
Globally, the number of DeLaval AMR farms is steadily growing as farmers see the commercial benefits of automated milking, with a reduction of labour costs and an overall improvement of lifestyle being the main triggers.
This trend is clearly experienced in Finland, where dairy farmers are already familiar with these benefits being one of the early adopters’ markets. This further supports the overall prediction that by 2020 the number of farms in Finland with herd sizes larger than 300 will triple. Consequently, it is not uncommon for several farmers to pool together, as is the case with Finnmilk.
Finnmilk large barn is further equipped with a DeLaval silo cooling tank and a barn designed for better animal welfare. Cow comfort is a core focus area for Finnmilk and has been incorporated into its choice of aftermarket products such as rubber covered floors, well designed cubicles, large water troughs and swinging cow brushes in each area improving cows wellbeing, activating rumination and increasing resting time. The cows are also given a health care programme which is intended to extend cow longevity on the farm.
Milking-, activity-, and cow calendar data are integrated into DeLaval DelPro Herd management system simplifying farm management routines significantly.
“We are very pleased that Finnmilk is now up and running. During the last few months, we have noticed an increased interest for our DeLaval AMR, in particular from Germany, Scandinavia, and Southern Europe but also from countries like Japan and Australia. This shows that our AMR is gaining traction across the globe as opposed to a few select countries, which was the case in the past,” says Robert Jensen, AMR business development manager DeLaval.
“DeLaval can offer these farm sizes three types of milking system: DeLaval AMR, a traditional parallel rotary and an 8-10 DeLaval VMS milking robots. Each system has its strengths and after a while it became clear that the DeLaval AMR carousel robot was the best option for Finnmilk.”
- 2 animal halls - cow hall 1, 126 x 36 m, 4 parts for 480 cows, cow hall 2, 117 x 38m. Milking + waiting area, special area for high yielding and dry cows (120 places), calving area, treatment area
- Calf hall for 90 calves
- Plan silos for silage, 12000m
- Manure bunkers, 7000m
- Buildings for TMR components