Where would you put the drinker?

Case study from the Netherlands. Please share your thoughts below!

Comments (5)

Peter Havrlant

Joep, this is challenging set up worthy of discussion. Currently, the drinker competes with feed bunk space, resulting in reduced space and wastage feed that cannot be accessed. Is the current feed bunk space with the trough in place sufficient for the number of head in the shed? If so don't change it and work on feed delivery accuracy, so all feed is accessible. If space is not sufficient or dominant cows are crowding this area given the water and feed access, the trough needs moving. Moving to the end of the centre row seems logical but won't this create a choke point given the restricted access by the fence rails. Without being able to observe cow behaviour, I cannot answer this but shutting off the current trough and putting in place a temporary plastic trough would allow you to observe any improvements in grazing behaviour before committing to a permanent solution.

Joep Driessen

Peter Havrlant wrote:
Joep, this is challenging set up worthy of discussion. Currently, the drinker competes with feed bunk space, resulting in reduced space and wastage feed that cannot be accessed. Is the current feed bunk space with the trough in place sufficient for the number of head in the shed? If so don't change it and work on feed delivery accuracy, so all feed is accessible. If space is not sufficient or dominant cows are crowding this area given the water and feed access, the trough needs moving. Moving to the end of the centre row seems logical but won't this create a choke point given the restricted access by the fence rails. Without being able to observe cow behaviour, I cannot answer this but shutting off the current trough and putting in place a temporary plastic trough would allow you to observe any improvements in grazing behaviour before committing to a permanent solution.

Thanks Peter, for sharing your thoughts!

Wim

The cros-over is to narrow anyway with what I guess is the exit or entrance of the robot, so forced cow-traffic. The drinker now is in a corner, making it only accessible from one side. Althoug we see the cornerside is much cleaner - more used- than the feed-rack side. Obviously cows like or have to stand near the wall to drink to avoid cow traffic from the robot. Probably this drinker is nor used to full capacity. As drinking comes first to feeding I would sacrifice a few feeding spaces in the middle. Or an out-of the box suggestion: sacrifice two cublicles ( and cow s in this compartment) at the end and place the drinker there

Owen Atkinson

Wim, I don't think your comment about losing two cubicles is "out of the box" at all. My quick count up of cubicles was around 65 (2x20 head to head and the back wall): too many cow spaces for the single robot. There is restricted space in front of the robot in any case by the looks of things. So my solution would be to lose 6 cubicles of the head-to-heads, creating 3.6 additional metres in front of the robot and space for the water trough. I hope there is also a trough at the far cross-over (if not, put one there too). Result: 1) better feed space and better water access = more feed intake; less sorting; better rumen health and higher yields. 2) more free access to robots = higher visit frequency and higher yields 3) more space = better oestrus expression and less lameness; higher longevity and better cow health. More milk from same shed with possibly fewer cows (if stocked 1:1). What's not to like?!

Wim

Like! Thanks Owen.

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