Automatic Milking Systems: an option to address the labour shortage on New Zealand dairy farms?


  • J.G. Jago
  • M.W. Woolford



There is a growing shortage of labour within the dairy industry. To address this the industry needs to attract more people and/or reduce the labour requirements on dairy farms. Current milk harvesting techniques contribute to both the labour requirements and the current labour shortage within the industry as the process is labour-intensive and necessitates long and unsociable working hours. Automated milking systems (AMS) have been in operation, albeit on a small scale, on commercial farms in Europe for a decade and may have the potential to address labour issues within the New Zealand dairy industry. A research programme has been established (The Greenfield Project) which aims to determine the feasibility of automated milking under New Zealand dairying conditions. A Fullwoods MERLIN AMS has been installed on a protoype farmlet and is successfully milking a small herd of 41 cows. Progress from the prototype Greenfields system offers considerable potential for implementing AMS in extensive grazing systems. Keywords: automated milking systems, dairy cattle, grazing, labour







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