Sweden: project on integrating calves in automatic milking systems

In Sweden, in an on-going research project at the University of Agricultural Sciences in Uppsala some cows in a dairy herd are kept together with their calves in the beginning of the lactation. The aim of the project is to test if calves can be integrated in automatic milking systems (AMS). The group have a contact area where the calves stay at all times. After passing through the milking unit the cow can go to the selection gate again and will then be directed to the contact area. Provisional results show that there has been a large variation between cows in the frequency of visits to the milking unit. Some went several times per 24-hours while others did not go at all or did not release milk to the milking machine but spent is all to their calf. After all cows have passed the first two weeks of lactation they visit the milking unit twice a day or more often.

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