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Robotic milking data drives performance

Producers with automatic milking systems may be able to achieve extra litres, according to evaluations by ForFarmers. The company’s on-farm automatic milking system (AMS) specialists are seeing opportunities to improve performance on many units, with the help of an audit.  

ForFarmers’ specialists are working with a substantial number of robotic milking units and are able to benchmark performance against not only targets, but also some of the best operators in the UK.

Robot milking audit

AMS feeding

“Automated milking farms have a lot of data and this provides many pieces of the puzzle to establish how performance can be improved,” says ForFarmers’ James Hague. 
“Benchmarking is the first step and, from this, we can calculate the value to the farm of any changes required.”

Rest feed rate is one such indicator that often signals that change is needed. A value above 5% indicates that cows do not have enough time to eat their allocated compound offering. But, as with all averages, this masks the variances of the individual cows in the herd. This is where the specialist will use the individual-cow data to optimise the system, to ensure that each cow receives the correct nutrition.


While automatic systems provide a high level of performance data, they will not provide all the data needed for producers to get the best from their cows. But information obtained through ForFarmers Insight and Visiolac reports can provide a wider range of diagnostic data – including, fertility, rumen function, ration efficiency and fatty acid analysis – that will help to assess the overall success of a diet. This feedback can’t be obtained directly from robots. 

“The Visiolac reports utilise data from the bulk-tank component and fatty acid data through NML. We use this data to interpret what is happening within the rumen and the udder,” says Mr Hague. “More in-depth analysis of individual cow data, where herds are herd recording with NMR, can highlight opportunities within the herd, as well as individual-cow nutrition.”

A complete range of robotic milking resources

As well as developing a specific range of robotic milking compatible concentrate feeds, ForFarmers has established an robotic milking special interest group on dairy costings and has a range of specialist resources to help producers optimise the performance of cows in an automated milking system. 

For more information

For more information on robotic specific feeds or for a complimentary audit please speak to your local ForFarmers Robot Specialist or send us an online enquiry here