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“Best Buy” Robot Feeds Dairy Cattle
In the fall of 2017 Mitch, Max and Bob Malm became the first Wisconsin dairy operation to install a a Lely Vector robotic feeder. They say that after an initial adjustment period, they’re happy with it.
  The Lely Vector feeds the Malm’s 115 dairy cows and heifers around the clock. Besides saving money on labor costs, Mitch says, “The biggest benefit we’ve noticed is that the cattle hardly have any health issues. Ocassionally we’ll have a cow with milk fever, but we don’t have much ketosis at all.”
  Malm says the robot also saves on feed costs because it provides exact amounts of feed to every cow and doesn’t overfeed or underfeed.
  Malm Dairy began using Lely milking robots in the fall of 2012, and that system impressed Mitch Malm so much that he began looking into other robotic technology. He learned that farmers overseas were using the Dutch manufacturer’s feeding robot and that it was also working on some dairy farms in Canada.
  “I visited Canada to see a Vector feeder work and it just seemed so simple and a good investment,” Mitch says. The Malms purchased the unit, built a feed room addition onto their barn to house it, and spent about $150,000 on the whole setup.
  Inside the feed room a crane with buckets picks up several types of grain, hay and forage, then loads it into the robot’s mixer. The robot then selects other products like corn, roasted beans, concentrates and minerals for the ration. The Malms say the robot can be programmed to feed any ration they need. It even functions well in extreme weather conditions, traveling on a cement path to reach two different barns. Mitch Malm says it’s important to keep the path clear of snow and ice so the wheels don’t spin. Inside it doesn’t have any problems moving.
  As the first-of-its-kind system in Wisconsin, the robot has had several visitors observe it working in the past year. The Malms say there’s a lot of interest in the system, “but with milk prices being depressed, it’s hard to buy much of anything right now.”
  Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Malm Rolling Acres, W4222 153 Rd., Loyal, Wis. 54446 (ph 715 255-8927).

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2019 - Volume #43, Issue #3