Feeding patterns and performance of cows in controlled cow traffic in automatic milking systems.
ABSTRACT Two groups of dairy cows monitored from 3 to 19 wk postpartum were subjected to 2 different cow traffic routines in an automatic milking system with control gates and an open waiting area. Using different time settings in the control gates, the groups of cows were separated by average milking frequency; cows in the high milking frequency routine had a minimum of 4 h between milkings (MF(4)) and were milked 3.2 +/- 0.1 times daily, whereas cows in the low milking frequency routine had at least 8 h between milkings (MF8) and were milked 2.1 +/- 0.1 times daily. Cows in the 2 groups were switched to the opposite milking frequency control for wk 18 and 19. The increased milking frequency resulted in a higher milk yield of about 9% through 16 wk of early lactation Although the higher milk yield was not significant when measured as energy-corrected milk, significant interactions of milking frequency and study period for milk yield and energy-corrected milk yield were consistent with a yield response when cows were milked more frequently. Meal criteria estimated for each individual cow were used to group feeding visits into meals. During MF4, cows fed in fewer meals per day and had longer meals than during MF8. The control gates were used efficiently, with only a few passages not resulting in actual meals. Although the voluntary meal intervals seemed to be short, the average milking frequency was far below that theoretically possible. This was explained by individual differences in milking frequency and long intervals from when a cow was redirected in a control gate until it arrived in the milking unit. A wide individual range in the voluntary interval between the first and the second meal in the milking cycle suggests that fixed time limits for control gates set on group level have no justifiable biological basis. It was also concluded that primiparous cows were well adapted to the automatic milking system after 2 wk in the barn.
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ABSTRACT: Thirty-eight older (second and greater lactation) and 15 Holstein cows in first lactation were in a full lactation (44 wk) study to evaluate the effect of either twice or three times daily milking on yield of milk and milk components, milk composition, feed intake, and body weight change. All cows were managed alike and were fed diets of high, medium, and low energy concentration as lactation progressed from calving to 44 wk. First lactation cows were switched from diets of high energy to lower energy at the same milk production as lactation advanced. Dietary changes for older cows milked twice and three times (A) were at similar production, whereas three times (B) cows were switched to lower energy at higher milk production. Older cows milked three times daily (A and B) produced 17 and 13% more milk over the entire lactation than cows milked twice daily. Dry matter and energy intakes were not affected by three times milking, but gain of body weight was reduced. Cows milked three times daily during their first lactation produced 6% more milk than their twice counterparts, although this increase was not significant. Dry matter and energy intakes were not affected by three times daily milking, but three times milking of first lactation cows reduced weight gain over the lactation. Reproductive performance of cows milked three times daily was not significantly different from cows milked twice daily. Herds milking three times will require high management of nutrition and reproduction.Journal of Dairy Science 02/1985; 68(1):123-32. · 2.57 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Two cow traffic situations were tested sequentially in an automatic milking system (AMS) for effects on cow behavior, effective use of the barn, and milking capacity. The first situation was forced cow traffic: 63 cows had to pass through the AMS to go from the lying area to the feeding area. The second was semiforced cow traffic: 67 cows (60 cows from before) had free access to a forage feeding area at one end of the barn but could only access an area with concentrate feeders by passing through the AMS. Behavior of all cows was monitored as well as for two subsets of cows present in both situations: 8 cows with low frequency vs. 7 cows with high frequency of visits to the AMS. In each situation, cows were observed for 72 h. Cow locations and behavior were noted at 10-min intervals for all cows and individually for the selected cows. In semiforced traffic, the herd readily used the freely accessible forage feeding area, ate longer (17.4% of the day vs. 15.1 +/- 0.59%), and stood less in freestalls (9.0 vs. 11.8 +/- 0.30%) than when cow traffic was forced. Nonmilking visits to the AMS tended to decrease, whereas milking visits remained unchanged in the semiforced situation. The subset of cows that visited the AMS more often had fewer nonmilking visits (1.8 vs. 4.2 +/- 0.7) in the semiforced traffic situation whereas cows with low frequency of visits to the AMS had a nonsignificant increase (1.5 vs. 1.0) in nonmilking visits. Cows that visited the AMS frequently used the forage feeding area and the lying area next to it more than low frequency cows and use of those areas increased further during the semiforced situation. The semiforced cow traffic was deemed more desirable than forced cow traffic both for cows and for the capacity of the automatic milking system.Journal of Dairy Science 07/2003; 86(6):1997-2004. · 2.57 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The aim of this paper is to explore the stochastic nature of the usage of facilities in a robotic milking barn, independent of the barn layout. It presents experimental data obtained by monitoring 10 dairy cows over a period of 18 days. To minimize restrictions to the access of cows to the facilities, the barn contained less than half the number of the cows for which it was designed. Under these conditions of maximum availability of facilities, the intensity and sequence of facilities usage were studied. The access to all the facilities in the barn can be approximated by an exponential distribution where the values for the exponential rate for access to concentrates, forage, water, cubicles and milking, respectively, are: conc. of 13?15, forage of 8?77, water of 12?06, cubicles of 8?08, and milking of 15?11. The ‘flow’ of the cows between the facilities was expressed in a transition matrix. The first priority of cows crossing from the resting area to the feeding area through the milking robot stalls was concentrate feeding (91?4 f the events). The occupation rate (cows/positions) of forage lane or cubicles was less than the milking-parlour situation. Robotic milking evened out the usage of all the facilities in the barn throughout day and night to a continuous-time stochastic process.Journal of Agricultural Engineering Research 76 (2000) 1. - ISSN 0021 8634. 01/2000;