Fundo El Risquillo, a large farm in Chile with 6500 dairy cows, has just signed an agreement to install 64 DeLaval VMS milking robots making it the world's largest robotic milking farm.
The farm, owned by Agrícola Ancali and part of the Bethia Group, already has 16 DeLaval VMS installed and has been able to see the results: an average yield of 45.2 litres for the 920 cows currently being milked through the robotic milking system.
That is a 10 per cent increase in milk production. There has also been a reduction in labour costs.
"The benefits have been remarkable," CEO at Ancali Agrícola Pedro Heller said.
"More production, better animal welfare conditions and less stress for the cows. This project included two stages.
"Firstly, we compared the benefits of using DeLaval VMS systems versus rotary milking system. We started using robots for 500 cows, and when we saw the economic benefits and we realised that it was possible to improve production per cow by 10 per cent and reduce the stress of the cow we decided to further explore. "During the second stage we decided to modify the farm, changing our conventional milking system for an automatic milking system. Plan is to have our best 4500 cows milked by DeLaval VMS and we believe we have a perfect set up should we decide to grow more in the future."
The barn also includes a range of other cow comfort solutions from DeLaval such as ventilation systems, cow cooling, rubber flooring, swinging cow brushes, water troughs and illumination.
When the new installation is complete, 4500 cows will be milked robotically while one rotary will be kept for fresh and special needs cows. There are currently four rotaries in operation today.
While many farmers see DeLaval VMS as a robot for a smaller operation, CEO Pedro Heller calculated after the first installation that there was a clear return on investment together with the other cow comfort solutions.
The first DeLaval VMS installation took place with eight milking robots in October 2014. By early 2017, 64 DeLaval VMS will be installed making this farm the largest robotic milking farm on the planet and one of the most productive.
The El Fundo Risquillo farm is located 500km south of Santiago and is part of a larger operation including a beef farming operation and a stud farm.