Designing the optimal robotic milking barn, Part 1: Quantifying facility usage

I. Halachmi, J.H.M. Metz, E. Maltz, A.A. Dijkhuizen, L. Speelman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)


The aim of this paper is to explore the stochastic nature of the usage of facilities in a robotic milking barn, independent of the barn layout. It presents experimental data obtained by monitoring 10 dairy cows over a period of 18 days. To minimize restrictions to the access of cows to the facilities, the barn contained less than half the number of the cows for which it was designed. Under these conditions of maximum availability of facilities, the intensity and sequence of facilities usage were studied. The access to all the facilities in the barn can be approximated by an exponential distribution where the values for the exponential rate for access to concentrates, forage, water, cubicles and milking, respectively, are: conc. of 13?15, forage of 8?77, water of 12?06, cubicles of 8?08, and milking of 15?11. The ‘flow’ of the cows between the facilities was expressed in a transition matrix. The first priority of cows crossing from the resting area to the feeding area through the milking robot stalls was concentrate feeding (91?4 f the events). The occupation rate (cows/positions) of forage lane or cubicles was less than the milking-parlour situation. Robotic milking evened out the usage of all the facilities in the barn throughout day and night to a continuous-time stochastic process.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)37-49
JournalJournal of Agricultural Engineering Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2000


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