Saturday, May 23, 2015

Not as smooth as I hoped

If things are going good, don't worry.  They will turn around and go to crap in a hurry.  Wednesday afternoon the new expensive air compressor that runs the robots, valves on the milk line, gates on the stalls, and pumps the milk to the tanks, shut off again from over heating.  This really makes me nervous, as it is not even hot weather yet.  But, I was still okay.  I even commented to a neighbor lady that has expressed great interest in this project that it was going smoothly (maybe I spoke too soon).

Then Wednesday evening running the cows through the robots didn't go very smooth.  As Jorge and I pushed the cows through, we noticed the robots seemed to be losing intelligence.  They weren't attaching as quickly & the prep time was really long.  We should have finished that night by 2 a.m.  We didn't finish until 4:30 a.m.  The next morning there were errors again on the robots and they shut down.  Charlie found the errors and reset them.  Then we started at about 6:45 that morning to run the cows through again.  As I went to clean the laser screens, which is what I do when the machines are not attaching quickly, I noticed that one had a lot of condensation inside.  I went and told Robert and he went and looked, thought through the possibilities, and then he and Mike, both Tech guys with the robot company, determined that the seal on the laser screen was bad.  So they went to get a replacement laser and swap out.  This put the cows further behind again.  We had planned on running cows through 3 times a day, possibly only 2 the first day, but now we are onto Thursday mid morning and we haven't gotten the cows through 3 times in any single day.  I am getting a bit nervous, running on low sleep amd large quantities of Mtn Dew & Oreos. 

Thursday's running the cows through went great.  The tech guys started leaving & I was feeling fine.  I was able to sit down with Charlie and look at some reports he uses, benchmarks he uses, and some of the herd monitoring stuff that he uses.  Once Friday came, I had the schedule to run cows through three times a day through the weekend.  Charlie left late Thursday evening and Mike was the tech guy there until Friday to get the final touches on. 

Friday the cows ran through great. Looking at percentages and cows that are going through on their own, I was feeling optimistic about this project. We have about 35% of the cows going through on their own without prompting from humans.  That number is growing each day.
Then the tech guys gave me the list --- Holy Carumba it was a long list.  They have concerns.  From the design not working & fear of freezing up in the winter, to the Jersey cows that I run with the Holsteins.  As we look at the records, the Jersey 1st lacation young cows are not being milked successfully.  This will prove to be the biggest challenge for the next few days. 

Anyway, as I sit here Saturday night, reminiscing about the weeks project, I have mixed feelings about how it is going.  I have had to move a bunch of the young animals out of the robot pen to be milked in the parlor.  I have moved some of the older sway bagged cows to pen one to be milked in the parlor. I have moved some of the cows with rear teats too close together or crossing to pen one to be milked in the parlor. 

Anyway, I am signing off for the night with mixed feelings about the robotic dairy experience. 
Tough day, tough week, worn out, haven't slept a wink in my bed. Hell, I haven't even seen the upstairs floor of my house since Tuesday morning at 3:30. 

I sure hope that I have a better day tomorrow on the Sabbath & that the Lord blesses me for doing minimal work tomorrow.  I could use the blessings & need the cows to start running through better, more regularly, and getting completely milked out.

No comments:

Post a Comment