WFFUwarn on robot milking unit concerns
IF YOURE thinking of installing a robotic milker, be aware that some installations have failed to live up to producers expectations, warns the independent Womens Food and Farming Union.
The unions dairy committee chairperson Gillian van der Meer says that it is keen not to condemn the robotic technology which is working well on some units.
However, its investigations over the past 12 months have revealed problems with the AMS Liberty system, she adds.
The groups concerns regard animal welfare, efficiency and performance. Its comments on animal welfare have been presented to the Farm Animal Welfare Council for its review.
She reports that some producers who have taken the system have encountered a number of problems and at least one has had the system removed.
It is also suggested by Mrs van der Meer that some users have to constantly supervise the system, as it keeps breaking down.
One user contacted by FARMERS WEEKLY confirmed that she had suffered problems which had resulted in financial losses.
She advises any producer considering robotic milking to investigate all aspects of the system and visit many farms with a robotic system in operation before committing to a purchase.
"We also recommend that the old parlour is not removed, so the producer may revert to the previous way of milking if the new system fails."
AMS Liberty declined to comment on the findings. *