Farmers’ Perceptions on Implementing Automatic Milking Systems in Large USA Dairies: Decision-Making Process, Management Practices, Labor, and Herd Performance

Camila Flavia de Assis Lage, Thaisa Campos Marques, Daniela R. Bruno, Marcia I. Endres, Fernanda Ferreira, Ana Paula Alves Pires, Karen Leão, Fabio Soares de Lima

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Automatic Milking System (AMS) installations are increasing in the USA despite the higher investment cost than conventional systems. Surveys on AMSs conducted outside the USA focused on small–medium herds, specific regions, or aspects of AMS milking. This study described farmers’ perceptions about the decision-making process of adopting an AMS in the USA’s large dairies (≥7 AMS boxes) regarding changes in technology, housing, management practices, labor, herd performance, and health. After being contacted, 27 of 55 farmers from large AMS herds completed the survey. The main reasons for adopting an AMS were labor costs, cows’ welfare, and herd performance. Most farms constructed new barns, used a free-flow traffic system, and changed their feed management. Increases in water and energy use were perceived by 42% and 62% of farmers, respectively. Farmers estimated decreases in labor costs of over 21%, and AMS employees worked 40–60 h/week. Milk production increases were reported by 58%, with 32% observing higher milk fat and protein content. Easier sick cow detection, better mastitis management, and improvements in pregnancy rates were reported. Thus, farmers transitioning to AMSs perceived altered resource utilization, labor cost savings, and improvements in employee quality of life, animal welfare, and farm management. While 54% of respondents would recommend an AMS to other farms, 38% suggested considering additional aspects prior to adoption.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number218
JournalAnimals
Volume14
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024 by the authors.

Keywords

  • adoption
  • cow health
  • cow welfare
  • robotic milking

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Farmers’ Perceptions on Implementing Automatic Milking Systems in Large USA Dairies: Decision-Making Process, Management Practices, Labor, and Herd Performance'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this