Featured Farm: Martins Farm, Modesto, CA
Danny Martins’ father and uncle first milked cows at Martins Farm in the 1980’s. Until 2019, the family never considered adding robotics to the operation. The original setup was a double-22 herringbone parlor, which was upgraded to a 60-stall rotary parlor in 2006.
It was a visit to the largest robotic dairy in the world at Ancali, Chile, that convinced Martins that robotic milking was the way to go. “I couldn’t get over the difference in cow behavior on the robots. That really stuck out,” he says. On the plane trip home, Martins was already making plans to implement 24 DeLaval VMS V300 robots.
With the first 12 robots up and running, Martins has noted employee performance as an added benefit to robotic milking. “At first, my employees felt a little threatened by the new robots, but now they love them because they can perform [their duties] better. It hasn’t run them out of a job,” he says.
The farm is currently completing the addition of the final 12 robots. When complete, the 24-robot operation will milk 1,680 cows at max capacity.
“The cows are so comfortable with the robots and the behavior is unbelievable,” says Martins.
Martins continues to run the dairy alongside his father. They both look forward to completing the final phases of the transition to robots by late 2021 or early 2022.