Return on investment
Adrichem is miles ahead of his friends who are dairy farming using conventional milking systems as he doesn’t have to pay the labour cost. “My friends don't think robotics will work because they think that I'm out 24 hours a day doing maintenance on the robots. I do get the odd phone call but it's usually nothing important. They think they have to be a technician to be able to fix the robots but they've got that very wrong."
"They're milking eight hours a day in a dairy and if I have to fix the robot for even half an hour a day I'm still miles in front of where they would be. And because I don't have to have an employee like they do, my cost of production is way better than anyone else, just because that labor cost is crazy. The average in Australia I think is 150 cows per full-time equivalent so we've got 500 cows and I'm doing it myself through the majority of the year.”
Conventional v/s automatic milking system
Adrichem has been measuring the costing since they were milking with a conventional milking system, and according to him there is not much cost difference between the two systems. “The costing of the robots versus conventional farming is much the same to be honest. I think that electricity use we got it meted on farm when we had the rotary and we got it meted when we had the robotics, and the power consumption, the actual kilowatts used was nearly identical per cow. But in a rotary it peaks and troughs obviously when you start in the morning when you start at night."
"With the robotics it's very linear and that's why we've got the solar system put in now which has brought our electricity costs right back because this system makes the power all day and we're consuming that power all day. In regards to water, in a conventional dairy we used twenty to thirty thousand litres of water a day for hosing out and in the new dairy with the robotics we use maybe three thousand litres a day so our water consumption is cut right back. I can keep the lifestyle I've got now, getting up at 6:00 in the morning and finishing at 4:00 in the afternoon. You can maintain that for a long long time, however, if you have to get up at 2:00 in the morning and finish at 6:00 at night it's just a matter of time before you burn out or you don't do your job well anymore.” says Arjan van Ardichem.
Pasture-based Automatic Milking System - Arjan Van Adrichem (English / Australia)