It is well established that robotic milking provides a myriad of benefits, from reduced labour costs to more complete milking. But DeLaval voluntary milking system VMS™, goes beyond reliability and performance: this technology comes with standard features and optional add-ons that also promote cow health and productivity.
One is the award-winning DeLaval body condition scoring BCS, which provides farmers with the accurate information they need to increase productivity and decrease costs through herd health management. Now a cow’s body condition is analysed and scored automatically with 3D imaging, while the cows move through a fixed point in the barn or through a DeLaval VMS™. Reliable, instantaneous data allows farmers to spot body condition scoring deviations and change feed conditions, for example, so cows turn feed into milk and not body fat. DeLaval BCS is particularly valuable when farmers can’t observe the entire herd on a regular basis.
Other innovations focus on improved health and conception rates. Mastitis costs dairy farmers worldwide billions of dollars every year through lost milk production, discarded milk, treatment costs, reduced fertility and culled cows. In many countries the incidence of mastitis is about 30%.
Early detection and treatment of mastitis is a priority for every dairy farmer, which is why the DeLaval VMS™ comes with a mastitis detection index (MDi™) – a system that warns farmers if a cow is in danger of infection. MDi™ combines measurements of conductivity, blood, milk flow and milking intervals, all per quarter and generates an index score. The DeLaval index outcome has been shown to be much more reliable compared to individual data. Based on the faster result, a farmer could decide to monitor or treat the cow. This can be especially important in the summer, when mastitis incidence can double.
Finally, remember that cows are individuals. In conventional milking systems and most robot milking systems, pulsation is set according to the milking hardware. But in a DeLaval VMS™, pulsation is set according to each cow’s optimal milking performance for her current lactation stage – so we call it Smart Pulsation™. The cow dictates the pulsation ratio, not the robot. The DeLaval VMS™ will automatically adapt pulsation ratios to ensure optimal flow rates. In a series of trials, milk flow increased by 5 - 8%. Research carried out by the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences with different breeds at different lactation stages showed no significant effects on teat ends or somatic cell counts, regardless of which DeLaval VMS™ pulsation ratio was used. And cows enjoy a shorter milking time in which the robot increases the capacity.
Research and innovation are central to the continued success of DeLaval as we support our customers. Much of this takes place at our seven R&D centres across the globe, but our reach is even wider: we work closely with a worldwide network of farmers, academics, dedicated research facilities, scientists, sales teams and authorised dealers.