Sunday May 31
It's Sunday night. I haven't been in the house a total of an hour since 5:30 a.m. I had thirteen errors today on the CRS - that's the brains that control all the valves, air lines, robots, milk pumps etc....
I had my future son in law and his family and some of my daughter's friends over and showed the robot room and Automatic Milking System to them Saturday night. I must have bragged it up too much. I was sure thinking things were starting the smooth track. Boy, was that bad thinking.
Dan, from Lely, has been a good help this week with adjusting the computer and putting up more dashboard type instruments to watch and monitor cow flow, milk, feed intake, successful attachments & not successful and also box time and prep time. It is good to see that we are improving.
Robots have been up and running now for about 12 days. The first six were lousy to miserable to retrain and lots of unexpected problems. The second group of six were repositioning cameras to the original settings, spending time inside the robot room to "drive" the robots to the correct starting point, and now things appear to be looking up.
We continue to have many visitors to the dairy to watch the robots work. When the robots are all working it is truly an amazing site to watch the unmanned dairy barn at work. I still do not trust that all is going well. I don't sleep well. I get up at all hours of the night and go check on the robots. I am fascinated at how well they work in the night. I believe from looking at all the information that is generated from the computer that the robots are most efficient at nighttime. When nobody is around scraping corrals, fluffing up the beds, nor just checking on the cows, it seems that the cows love to go get milked by the robots.
We continue to increase milk each day, and are almost back to the level of production prior to robot installation. The components, both fat and protein, are both up slightly since switching to robots to milk. I know we are not as rough on the milk, beating it with motor impellors and dropping it into the tank from above & I wonder how much effect that has on components. I continue to be in awe that we can fill the milk tank from the bottom just pushing the milk with air. It is a great sound to sit in the tank room and hear a cow's milk from the robot room being plunged with air into the tank & hear the gurgling sound as it is pushed into the bottom of the tank.
Biggest problem is that I am still really disappointed that the robots will not milk my smaller animals, especially the young jersey cows. I feel that I was a bit deceived by the messages that were placed out there of the success of all cows regardless of size. I am even more nervous looking to the future as I have a bunch of jersey heifers bred & ready to calve this summer and fall. I wonder what plans I may have to change, or what programs to implement to try to mitigate this problem. I am still waiting to see and hear what Lely and DSC have to say and do to mitigate this issue.
Things seemed to be much better this evening than they were early this morning and most of the day.
We are about 20 days at least behind at planting corn. Most of my fields where we plant corn are partially under water. The rain from the last 25 days has sure left us a long way behind and a lot of catching up to do. I hope we finally have a good week both with the robots and making headway with working some fields if they dry enough so we can get some corn seed in the ground.