June 9, 2022
Better efficiency for Chinese dairy production finds answer in modern milking machines
Modern milking machines have become one of the most important technologies in China’s dairy farming; based on the 2020 China Dairy survey data, 13.4% of domestic dairy farms used rotary parlour milking machines, which have made milk production more efficient.
Reflecting this trend in using modern technology, automatic milking robots were installed last year by Ningxia Jiubeier Agricultural Development Company, which completed the construction of its 5G intelligent dairy farm. The first phase of the project installed four units of the Delaval Voluntary Milking System, VMS V300. Two operating units can easily milk more than 300 cows.
Different from traditional milking machines, V300 has several functions including identifying individual cows and monitoring milk quality and cattle health. Being fully automated, it can operate with minimal manpower, thus improving production efficiency. Ningxia Jiubeier has plans to import a total of 24 VMS V300 while also investing in intelligent management facilities to establish a farm with 2000-3000 dairy cows.
As the scale of dairy farming expands, Chinese dairy producers face multiple problems like high feed costs, low parity, difficulties in the health management of dairy cows, high incidence of mastitis and increased early culling. Modern milking machines can overcome these challenges and, at the same time, improve sustainability and animal welfare. For example, with the employment of VMS V300, Ningxia Jiubeier reported an increase of more than 8% in milk output — and almost no cases of mastitis.
Last year, the inventory of Holstein dairy cattle in China expanded to 5.76 million, a more than 10% increase over 2020. The proportion of large-scale farming reached 70%, an increase of 50 percentage points over 2008.
As China’s dairy sector expands rapidly, the demand for milking machines has attracted manufacturers from within and outside the country. In May 2021, the Chinese branch of Lely, a Dutch manufacturer of cattle automation equipment, unveiled its most advanced A5 automatic milking machine at the Yinchuan Dairy Exhibition, aiming to attract potential clients in northwest China to acquire its intelligent system.
Additionally, China succeeded in creating its first milking machine — in July 2019, a milking robotic system developed by Beijing Topper Robotics Technology Co., Ltd. rolled off a production line in Luoyang.
– David Lin, eFeedLink