Wisconsin Dairy Farmers Join Forces to Use Automatic Milking Robots

Bacon’s Rolling Acres in Columbus is on a roll, using the latest in dairy technology robotic milking techniques. It’s one of the many innovative Wisconsin dairy farms incorporating the most current technology know-how.

Owned by Ed and Julie Bacon, the 800-acre operation houses a sophisticated robotic dairy facility and the latest milking technology, helping the farm safely produce high-quality milk while making the cows comfortable.

Shortly after buying the farm from Ed’s retired parents, the couple decided to invest in robotic milking. They met with Lely company consultants for solutions, eventually adding two Lely milking machines to their operation.

The Bacons have seen a sharp improvement in production and cow satisfaction. Their cows are able to come and go as they please, deciding for themselves when they want to be milked.

“It’s a really ideal environment for the cows,” Julie says. “They are able to make all of their own decisions.”

Consideration for the cows’ comfort and quality of life was the driving factor in their decision to upgrade their farm, although they are reaping other benefits such as increased milk production and pregnancy rates, and decreased farm labor.

According to Bellana Putz, customer sales support manager for Lely’s North American headquarters in Pella, Iowa, the Lely robots can tell the producer how much milk each cow is producing.

The cows wear collars that identify when they come in to milk, alert producers when they need to be bred, and monitor their grazing and activity. With so much data collected from the monitoring tags and robots, farmers can keep a closer eye on their cows.

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“The collar helps us know when they’re sick about a day before we’d otherwise notice,” Julie says.

Ed adds, “Because we have so much information at our fingertips, we’re able to monitor the cows’ production and performance a lot better. Every day we have new information to keep up with them.”