New automated milking system up and running

Cows waiting at the automated milking system at Camden
Cows waiting at the automated milking system at Camden

A state-of-the-art automated milking research facility designed to boost the profitability of Australia’s dairy industry is now in operation at Camden, in Sydney’s outskirts

The pilot milking system is located at the NSW Department of Primary Industries’ Elizabeth Macarthur Agricultural Institute (EMAI).

The facility will see dairy cows voluntarily move into milking bails whenever they need to be milked and then to return to the paddock.

Researchers involved in developing the automated milking system (AMS) at Camden say the cows have adapted extremely well, and the team is delighted with the progress shown to date.

The technology means farmers will not be tied down to the strict routines previously associated with dairy production and can be freed up to tend to other necessary activities on their farms. It can also help improve per-cow milk production, by reducing stress in the animals.

Automated milking in action
Automated milking in action

Automated dairy systems are used in some European countries, but this project is focused on adapting existing methods to Australia’s pasture-based dairy industry.

The automated milking system is part of a three-year, $10.5 million research and extension program called FutureDairy. NSW DPI is contributing $5.75 million in funding and in-kind support.

FutureDairy brings together some of the country’s top researchers and industry experts to develop new farming practices, feed and forage management systems, and new technologies.

The project is a partnership between NSW Department of Primary Industries, Dairy Australia, University of Sydney and DeLaval. It also receives support from the University of Melbourne, DPI Victoria, Dairy Industry Development Company and Dairy Research Foundation.

Outcomes from the three-year research and extension project will eventually be rolled out to the national dairy industry.

Further information on the automated milking system is available from the FutureDairy website.