Tejeda, Hernan A.; Chahine, Mireille; Du, Xiaoxue; Lu, Liang; Westerhold, Ashlee
Adoption of Automated Milking Systems (AMS) by U.S. dairies began in the year 2000, and main regions presently making use of AMS are located in the upper Midwest and Northeast. Idaho ranks among the top three U.S. milk-producing states; however, the number of dairies having adopted AMS is quite low at approximately 10% of all farms. A survey of Idaho dairy farms was conducted to determine their level of responsiveness to AMS technology, and which characteristics may influence or have influenced (in case of having adopted) the adoption process. Survey results focused on non-adopters and served to estimate a Probit model. Summary results showed that a main concern for adopting AMS was the high investment costs involved, and that smaller sized producers indicated higher interest in possible adoption. Estimated model results considering age, education, herd size, type of parlor (parallel, herringbone, rotary, other) and type of farm (free stall, open lot, bedded pack, other), etc. found that dairies having a free stall had significant positive interest in adoption versus dairies with open lots, possibly responding to being easier to install AMS boxes in dairies with free stall. Additional findings are presented. Given the increasing difficulties with supply of labor at dairy farms in Idaho and across the U.S. and the changing lifestyle of dairy producers, it is anticipated that a continuous transition into AMS adoption occurs spearheaded by smaller dairies and more educated, younger farmers.