Robotics in dairy operations offers more than just efficiency and convenience. Robotic milking systems can help improve milk quality. Trevor DeVries, professor at the University of Guelph, says a rise in clinical mastitis cases, cow-level somatic cell counts and bulk tank somatic cell counts should be expected for the first six to 12 months of transitioning to a robotic milking system.

However, these differences lessen and do not sustain over an extended period. Therefore, the transition challenges have less to do with udder health and more with housing management when making the change.

Dirty cows can cause problems for robotic milking systems, making it critical to improve the dry-off process. In robotic barns where a clean and efficient system is in place, a cow’s desire to come to the robot as often as it needs is likely increased.

Read more on robotic milking systems here.