A dedicated online forum has been launched for dairy farmers using robotic milkers to help encourage knowledge transfer.

The Association of Robotic Milkers (ARM) is designed to provide access to a network of like-minded people with shared interests.

The launch comes at a time when almost half of all new dairy installations are robotic, according to the Royal Association of British Dairy Farmers which has helped fund the association through the Foundation for Collaboration.

See also: Advice for dairy farmers considering robotic milkers

The ARM has a website for both new and current users of robotic equipment, which will provide members with the opportunity to discuss the latest equipment, ask questions and communicate with others using automated systems.

Speaking during the launch at the Livestock Event, independent consultant and ARM director Tim Gibson said: “Some robot users are already part of local discussion groups, but the idea of the ARM is to bring all the groups together on a national scale, while at the same time keeping the regional groups – a bit like the British Grassland Society,” he said.

As well as the online forum, Mr Gibson said he hoped to organise a national farm walk.

Leicestershire dairy farmer Marcus Hunt has one robot, milking 100 cows. He signed up to the association as he believed it would be a good platform to share information. “The farm walk will also provide an interesting opportunity to see what others are doing.”

Membership will cost £65, which includes RABDF membership. Current RABDF members can pay a top-up to join the group.

Read more stories from the Livestock Event 2015