An economic analysis for automatic milking for a medium sized farm set up to milk 450 cows and installing either a 40-bail rotary dairy with automated cup removal and drafting or a 5-unit Greenfield system is evaluated. The analysis used a model that incorporated findings from the previous 5 years of research and development at the Greenfield automatic milking project and used physical and financial data collected in Dexcel’s 2003/04 Economic Farm Survey for the conventional milking system comparison. The model assumed a payout of $4.25/kg milk solids (MS) and used current cost of technology. Once cows were established into the Greenfield System, the cost of producing 1 kg MS was 27% higher than for the conventional rotary system. This was due to higher interest, depreciation and service contract costs, despite the lower labour, cow health and dairy costs. Sensitivity analysis showed that when other factors were held constant a 70% decrease in capital cost or a more than two-fold increase in cow throughput was required for the Greenfield System to be as economic as the rotary system. Alternatively combining future improvements in AMS technology and farm system development including improved throughput to 112 cows/AMS, a 25% decrease in milk harvesting system capital cost, equivalent production and a 10% increase in the cost of labour produce a similar economic performance for the two systems.

JG, Jago, KL Davis, M Newman, and MW Woolford

Proceedings of the New Zealand Society of Animal Production, Volume 66, Napier, 263-269, 2006
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