Swedish milk producers Patrik and Elin Johansson prove that a holistic and automated approach to dairy farming is a reality. On Torp farm, Smart Farming is the key to long-term business profitability, expansion opportunities and sustainability.
In 2008, when Patrik and Elin Johansson decided to install four DeLaval VMS and a fully automatic feeding system at their farm in southern Sweden they didn't just build a new barn. They built a comfort home for their 300 cows and harnessed automation and information technology. Walls can be raised and lowered to control temperature, lights work automatically and the Optimat' system cuts, mixes, loads and distributes feed automatically day and night. These and many other smart barn features are aimed at making cows at the farm as happy as possible.
"We are pleased that customers like Patrik and Elin Johansson are a real example of what we as a company have been aiming for with our Smart Farming vision: the essence to long term dairy business success is to create a holistic profit-driving operation that embraces more than robots," DeLaval Vice President Marketing and Communications Benot Passard told reporters at Torp Farm.
Patrik Johansson is convinced that the four VMS and the Optimat' system have changed his business. He scaled up from 70 to more than 300 cows without needing more labor, becoming even more efficient nonetheless. "I could afford to hire workers that were good with computers or taking care of the animals instead of looking for employees physically suited to handle heavy equipment," he says.
Patrik Johansson explained that with Optimat' they reduced feeding related tasks from 4 hours to 30 minutes a day. For him it is important that regardless of who loads the system the cows get the exact feed they need every day, according to the recipe he programs. "That extra time is important for us. Now the vet does not need to come so often and never has to treat the cows for feed related problems. We have happier and healthier cows on this farm now," he explains.
As Elin Johansson notes, the happier the cows are the more milk they produce. And the increased yield comes at a lower cost and a lower impact on the environment. "Cow comfort is a must for us. With good rubber floors for instance we've noticed how cows in heat play around and don't risk injuries," she says. "With clean cubicles we avoid mastitis and providing good bedding guarantees that our cows get quality sleep so they can produce lots of milk."
Patrik and Elin chose DeLaval because the company could supply the complete assortment to make Smart Farming a reality. Their current herd management system is DelPro 3.0 and with the upgradability that VMS provides, their next step will be to add Herd Navigator'. "Service was a key aspect for us also, and the salesman that helped us plan and execute this farm is part of our family now," she says.
"This is exactly the type of partnership DeLaval strives for. We want to go the extra mile with our customers and offer them suitable technology to run each and every aspect of their operation in an efficient, sustainable and profitable way," Benot Passard concludes.
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