DeLaval’s Voluntary Milking System (VMS)

T H WHITE Dairy supplies DeLaval’s robotic voluntary milking system

At the forefront of innovation, the DeLaval VMS robotic milking system exploits a cow’s natural behaviour cycle of feeding, resting and ruminating, and is built around the fact that each cow decides when she wants to feed and this coincides with the cow’s milking intervals.

Passing an automatic gate after feeding, a cow’s identity is read by the system. If that particular cow has only recently been milked it is routed to the resting area, but if it is eight hours since the last milking, or the computer’s stored data calculates that the cow is holding eight kilos of milk, it is diverted to the VMS milking pen.  When comfortably in the pen a portion of feed is dispensed in the robot manger to keep the cow occupied during the milking process.

Now the system’s hydraulic robotic arm comes into action. It’s fast, quiet, robust and gentle, and its repetitive procedures are consistent too – just as the cows like it.  Each teat is individually cleaned with warm water and air, then stimulated, pre-milked and dried before milking. Only a few seconds are needed for optimum teat sanitisation, which results in high milk quality  milking capacity. The arm automatically locates the teats, attaches the teat cups, re-attaches if needed, aligns the milk tube and sprays the teats after milking.

Controlling the milking is fast and intuitive thanks to a touch-screen interface. The system identifies the cow, displays milking performance for each udder quarter, recording time, yield, flow, conductivity and blood. The management software also provides instant information on the status of each cow, alerting the farmer to anything that requires attention.

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