Fundo El Risquillo, a large farm in Chile with 6,500 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, has already installed 16 DeLaval VMS robots, resulting in an average yield of 45.2 liters for the 920 cows going through the robotic milking system today. This is a 10% increase in milk production from before the robotic milkers were installed. Additionally, the farm has experienced a reduction in labor costs.
"The benefits have been remarkable: more production, better animal welfare conditions and less stress for the cows," said Pedro Heller, chief executive officer of Ancali Agrícola.
Heller said the project included two stages. First, the benefits of using DeLaval systems were compared to other rotary milking systems. The first DeLaval system, with eight milking robots, was installed at the farm in October 2014.
“We started using robots for 500 cows, and when we saw the economic benefits and we realized that it was possible to improve production per cow by 10% and reduce the stress of the cow, we decided to further explore,” he explained.
During the second stage, the farm decided to change its conventional milking system to an automatic milking system. Heller said the plan is to have the best 4,500 cows milked by the new system. “We believe we have a perfect setup, should we decide to grow more in the future," he said.
The barn today also includes a range of other cow comfort products from DeLaval, such as ventilation systems, cow cooling, rubber flooring, swinging cow brushes, water troughs and illumination.
When the new installation is completed, 4,500 cows will be milked robotically, while one rotary will remain for fresh and special-needs cows. There are currently four rotaries in operation today.
The El Fundo Risquillo farm is located 500 km south of Santiago, Chile, and is part of a larger operation, including a beef farming operation and a stud farm.