Iowa's Robotic Dairy Center

Automatic Milking Systems (robots) are becoming more popular in the United States and particularly in Iowa as our herd sizes are very compatible with robots. Iowa's Dairy Center began construction of the Robotic Center on April 15, 2013 to include two Lely A4 milking units; the first cows were milked on December 10, 2013. The robotic units were also made in Iowa at Lely's manufacturing plant in Pella.


Each robot can milk up to 65 cows in a 24 hour period. Cows on average come into the robot 3-4 times a day and they come into the robot when they choose; it's a complete free flow system. Some cows are milked up to six times a day if they want, depending on stage of lactation and the amount of milk they are producing. Total time in the robot depends on the cow and her milk production, but on average about 6 minutes. While the cow is being milk, the robot also dispenses feed for her to eat.


Robotic Milking Process

  1. Cow enters the robot when she chooses.
  2. Feed is dispensed for cow to eat during milking.
  3. Teats are recognized and cleaned with brushes and a sanitizing solution.
  4. Milking unit is attached to each individual teat, and milk begins to flow.
  5. As each quarter of the cow is finished being milked, the individual inflation detaches.
  6. Teat dip is sprayed on each teat to help condition teats and create a barrier for dirt.
  7. The cow exits the robot. Before another cow enters the unit performs a rinse to ensure cleanliness.

Click here to view our energy assessment of our milking parlor and robotic milking systems.


Photo Taken By: Liz Martin, Cedar Rapids Gazette