Dairy Innovation Hub upgrades Platteville’s robots, expands research possibilities

The University of Wisconsin River Falls is utilizing new milking robots to expand research and reduce labor.

Tera Montgomery with UW Platteville’s School of Agriculture says the dairy building was constructed in 2005 and was designed so half of the college’s 190-cow dairy herd used their old milking robots and the other half were milked through a parlor. “When we stopped using those (old) robots, all of the herd had to be milked through the parlor and it just wasn’t designed for that.”

Montgomery says Dairy Innovation Hub funding from the state has allowed them to purchase the new Lely robots, which both reduce the need for student milking labor and open several research opportunities. “There’s a couple of projects that are focusing on the robots. Some of them are looking at nutrition, so we’ve designed the robots so that we can feed a couple of different types of feed, and then we’re also going to be installing a system that can monitor their forage intake.”

Montgomery says the campus has three dairy researchers that were hired a year ago through Dairy Innovation Hub funding, and a fourth will start in August.

The Dairy Innovation Hub is an effort to expand dairy research at University of Wisconsin campuses in Madison, Platteville, and River Falls. It is supported by an annual eight million dollar investment by the State of Wisconsin.

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