Benefits of Dairy’s Investment in Robotic Milking Machines Offset by Drop in Milk Prices

Published by , August 29, 2016 2:02 am

(LancasterFarming) Tom Borden installed robotic milking machines in 2013 to increase milk production and reduce labor costs. The robots handle 108 cows, or more than half of the 200 cows at his O.A. Borden & Sons Dairy. The $1.2 million total investment included the cost of a new barn, feeding system and related computer hardware.The system identifies each cow and tracks exactly how much milk they produce. Cows are milked more frequently — an average of about three times daily instead of twice — and more milk means more revenue.
The Bordens had hoped to expand and buy two more robotic machines by now. But the sudden global drop-off in milk prices hasn’t allowed them to. Their money is tied up at a time when milk prices have fallen more than 40 percent from record highs two years ago. “It’s very frustrating right now,” Tom Borden said. “If milk prices don’t improve, we can’t afford technology.”

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