Starting in April 2016, producers in the U.S. can now include the CRV robot traits in their breeding decisions to help increase efficiency with their automatic milking systems (AMS). The robot traits are broken down into three separate breeding values: Robot Efficiency, Milking Interval, and Heifer Habituation.
Robot Efficiency indicates how efficiently a cow completes milking after entering the robot. Milking Interval is defined as the time interval between two milkings. Heifer Habituation represents how fast a heifer adapts to the AMS.
Real time data available from The Netherlands allowed CRV to create accurate breeding values for AMS operations. This data has and continues to increase immensely, with approximately six million robot milkings a week for ½ million cows on over 4,000 dairy farms.
Robot Efficiency: Daughters of bulls with a high Robot Efficiency produce more milk per minute of robot occupancy time. Factors such as milk production and speed, but also the time for treatment before and after milking are all taken in to effect.
Milking Interval: This breeding value represents the time between two successful milking visits, or how frequently a cow visits the robot and is milked. Cows with a longer milking interval (fewer visits to the robot) have to be fetched more often. A Milk Interval value higher than 100 results in a shorter milking interval i.e. cows that visit the robot more frequently.
Heifer Habituation: This value represents how quickly a heifer becomes acclimated to a robot. In early lactation, heifers are still unfamiliar with the robot and the intervals between visits are longer. Later in lactation, they have become used to the robot and visit more frequently. A Habituation value higher than 100 indicates that the ideal milking interval will be reached sooner.