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Case ReportOpen Access

Estimating and Quantifying the Production Outcomes and Lifestyle Changes for Small-to Medium Sized Dairy Farms When Transitioning From Conventional to Automatic Milking Systems in the Northeast Region: A Case Study Report

Volume 1 - Issue 7

Kasey M Moyes*, Li Ma, Dale Johnson, Stan Fultz and Robert R Peters

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    • Department of Animal and Avian Sciences, University of Maryland, Washington DC, USA

    *Corresponding author: Kasey M. Moyes, Department of Animal and Avian Sciences, College Park, University of Maryland, Washington DC, USA; Email: kmoyes@umd.edu

Received: December 15, 2017;   Published: December 19, 2017

DOI: 10.26717/BJSTR.2017.01.000610

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Abstract

Primary reasons for lack of expansion of small to mediumsized dairies in the Mid-Atlantic region are the high cost of land, low profits, and labor availability. As herd size continues to increase globally, new technology allowing farmers to remain sustainable is greatly desired. Automatic milking systems (AMS) represent the most recent technology available by offering improved management and production efficiency, quality of life and attractiveness to successors. However, the financial investment is substantial. Although there is growing data on production impacts for European farmers, this technology is fairly new to the U.S. In turn, U.S. farmers lack information from independent sources regarding return on production performance and animal health associated with the transition from conventional to AMS for U.S. dairy operations. Results from a survey to dairy farmers in the Mid-Atlantic region of the U.S. reported that improving herd management and personal flexibility were some of the most important factors regarding their interest in AMS Moyes et al. [1]. Only 18.0% of farmers said they have access to information regarding changes in animal health and personal flexibility. Producers stated that more information on animal health and personal flexibility would be helpful when considering a transition to AMS. The objective of this study was to estimate and quantify the animal health, productivity and lifestyle changes for small-to medium sized dairy farms regarding the transition from conventional to AMS in the Mid-Atlantic region. Economic impact (including cash flow and labor) is not reported here.

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