CASE STUDY 11: Stowell Farm - Wiltshire - 12 milk robots
Stowell Farms - Sharcott Penning Farm, Wiltshire, UK
Stowell farms is an estate in Wiltshire, UK. In 2018 Cow Plan was approached to look at designing a new cubicle building. The farm was milking around 600 cows through an internal rotary parlour.
The plans were produced and planning permission was approved in 2019.
The option of milking robots:
In January 2020 we were again approached. The farm had chatted about the additional cows on the rotary and expressed concerns about capacity and milking times. We were asked if we could explore the option of milking robots in the new building.
We proposed options for four different makes of robots in four different layouts. We then detailed these up further with the three preferred make of robots, and started to work closer with the robot manufacturers. As the farm worked through the numbers, it became apparent that converting the unit to a fully automated, milking robot unit was quite attractive.
2022 - New farm manager and the project commences
After a few delays in 2021, a new farm manager took over and the project started construction in 2022.
The renovation - 880 cubicles and 12 robots
After a full review of the whole system, we installed 880 new hybrid plastic bottom Cowcoon cubicles, with the Pasture Mat mattresses and the 40mm foam topper and the HRC covers, and poly pillows.
We supplied all new stainless steel, fast drain drinkers and all new AgriKit wavy top self locks for every building.
In the old rotary building we converted to cubicles and added 6 maternity pens, so this is now a dedicated maternity barn. The infrastructure was installed for the future option of additional robots in this building.
Update - December 2023
After 14 months of milking with robots:
Daily milk 24,577 litres
3458 litres from forage
42% first lactation heifers
- watch this space for future results!