1 October 1999

Robotic parlour – video had to do for Leonardo

LEONARDO has arrived, says Westfalia. Well, at the Dairy Event the companys new robotic milking system did not arrive – despite much vaunted pre-show publicity.

Planned or otherwise, visitors were presented with a video of the system which apparently has been on sale in Germany for the last 18 months.

Leonardo is described as a completely modular multi-box automatic milking system for the family dairy farmer with a herd size between 70 and 170 cows.

The units multi-box facility with the automatic milking system is considered to be the heart of the installation. One cleaning box and a maximum of four milking boxes can be combined. Two milking boxes will handle 90 cows, three will be sufficient for up to 130 cows.

Teat connection is achieved through use of a motor milking driven arm with its claw operated by compressed air. Individual udder and teat co-ordinates are recorded for future milkings.

As with other robotic milking systems, the fore-milk is dumped and milk flowing from individual quarters is measured for conductivity (mastitis) and, once milking is completed, teat cups are removed individually in respect of milk flow.

Westfalia reports it currently has five units installed in Germany with the UK likely to have its first next year. Prices have yet to be announced.