Robot machines put to the test
With massive growth in the use of robotic milking machines across Europe, researchers at Teagasc Moorepark are investigating the use of robotic machines in grass-based systems.
Dr Padraig French, head of livestock systems at Moorepark said the aim of the project was to see how robotic systems could be used by farmers with fragmented farms.
Using a Merlin 225 robotic machine from Fullwood Packo, the researchers are milking 75 cows at Teagasc's Kilworth farm.
The cows are a mixture of Norwegian Red and Jersey cross-breeds and Holstein Friesian cows that were previously milked in a herringbone parlour.
"There has been massive growth in robotic machines across Europe, with over 50pc of new machines in Holland and Denmark being robotic systems," he said.
"However, the growth in popularity of robotic machines goes hand in hand with less grass in the diet.
"We want to know what the potential of these robots would be on a grass-based system like we have in Ireland," said Dr French.
"The majority of robotic units would be installed for their labour-saving benefits and the lifestyle changes they bring about."