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Thread: robotic life expectancy

  1. #1

    Default robotic life expectancy

    Can someone please give me an idea of how many years robotic milkers will keep going with proper up keep? I'm finally in a place to get a used unit, maybe two, looking at lely a3s and the delavals. I always buy used when I can, and have no chance at affording a new unit right now. However, the ones that I'm looking at are ten years old. Can anyone speak to the level of upkeep at that age?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
    Location
    Southern Ontario
    Posts
    163

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    I donít think thatís really been determined yet. Around here people are still running very old delavals and Lely A2ís. Those that are/have replaced them have done so because theyíre expanding and the new tech isnít compatible with the old, or because the technological improvements over the past 15-20 years have been pretty significant and itís worth it to upgrade technology.

    I donít see why I canít get 20 years out of my A4.


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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    De Pere, WI
    Posts
    3,674

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    My original 4 robots are 8 years old now. They work the same as my most recent 4 robots. Delaval. Maintenance is important (regardless of brand). Sand is hard on robots (I don't have sand, have very good friends that do have robots and sand). Sand drastically increases the cost of a robot as the years pile on. I agree, I don't see any reason I can't be using the same robots at year 20. ... things break but you replace them. The frame and case are good to go... movable parts wear over time (sand speeds that up) but if you do a lot of work yourself it is all manageable.
    DiederichFarm
    "You are only as good as your next success, not your last" Sir Jock Stirrup

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2018
    Posts
    29

    Default

    You say your original 4 and new 4, did you add cows or continue to milk some of the herd with a parlor?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2018
    Posts
    29

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by drdiederich View Post
    My original 4 robots are 8 years old now. They work the same as my most recent 4 robots. Delaval. Maintenance is important (regardless of brand). Sand is hard on robots (I don't have sand, have very good friends that do have robots and sand). Sand drastically increases the cost of a robot as the years pile on. I agree, I don't see any reason I can't be using the same robots at year 20. ... things break but you replace them. The frame and case are good to go... movable parts wear over time (sand speeds that up) but if you do a lot of work yourself it is all manageable.
    You say your original 4 and new 4, did you add cows or continue to milk some of the herd with a parlor?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
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    De Pere, WI
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    3,674

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    We added cows. Our parlor was permanently shut down when we started up the robots.

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    DiederichFarm
    "You are only as good as your next success, not your last" Sir Jock Stirrup

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2018
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    29

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    I have been looking into robots and pondering the idea of milking half the cows with them and the rest through the parlor. Some people have said that everyone that does that typically ends up taking out the robots. We milk almost 400, 4 pens of 100 cows each give or take. 2 pens in each barn. My thinking is I would have a lower initial investment, and cut my parlor time in half. So instead of the parlor running 9-10 hours a day it would be 4-5. Much easier to manage if an employee quits or doesnít show up. This would also allow me to put the best cows on the robots and hopefully maximize its return, while cows who donít work for the robot or donít work well will stay in the parlor. Then in time I could have a better idea of how well robots will or wonít work and the ability to put them in the other barn.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    De Pere, WI
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    3,674

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    There are people who run both. IMO it is best not to unless you are a pretty chill person.... otherwise every time something happens with the robots you bitch and eventually just start milking more in the parlor.... not a fault of the robots but of ther person's willingness to adapt to the change robots bring in management.

    I can see places where running both might work but usually it is where the parlor is maxed out and robots provide a way to add cows without adding staff. The idea of cutting milking time might sound good but how to staff shorter shifts? It is usually harder to find people the shorter the shift.

    Obviously, capital outlay to do it all at once might be a problem but paying for ther robots via labor reduction might be harder if you still run the robots... now you have two systems to wash and care for each day... so you are less efficient in that regard.

    Sent from my SM-G973U using Tapatalk
    DiederichFarm
    "You are only as good as your next success, not your last" Sir Jock Stirrup

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2018
    Posts
    29

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    My justification would be cutting out one employee and as far as the washing goes an additional 3 robots to milk all the cows would require a similar amount of washing materials as the parlor. I am rather patient with technology, not so much with people. I have one employee house on the farm, so a couple more doubles would be very feasible. As well as encouraging slower more thorough milking and improved stall grooming. Our parlor is very efficient but highly demanding so a shorter shift with a higher wage is how weíve had more success keeping employees. We have a double 12 parallel with one guy fetching his own cows. So labor savings arenít really able to justify the cost of robots. But I really like the low stress consistent environment they provide. If the robot is taken care of it should do the same job everyday. Humans can be significantly more sloppy or careless because they are tired and grumpy.

    Iíve also been contemplating a Waikato rotary with auto pre and post dip. And milking all the cows in 2 hours or so with one person. But I really donít have a place to put one up.

  10. #10

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    I bought one unit today, a Delaval vms 2013. I plan on starting soft next May by putting my youngest freshest 10-15 heifers in the bot barn and the rest will be milked in my tie stall and pastured as they are now. As my springers freshen I'll add them to the robot. My neighbor lost his shirt when he went cold turkey with his start up, his cows were tie stall housed when he started, 90lbs/day and bottomed out at 36/day! it was the transition to the free stall that caused his problems. I don't want to risk my cash flow.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2015
    Location
    Saskatchewan
    Posts
    35

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    Would you ever consider buying 13 yr old A3ís that are working well and put them in?
    Is there a way of putting them in semi permanent, or do they have to be cemented in permanently?

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