Dairy Robotic Milking Systems – What are the Economics?

robotic milking machine

This article is part of our series of original articles on emerging featured topics. Please check here to see other articles in this series.

Over 35,000 robotic milking systems (RMS) units are operational on dairy farms around the world. The main reasons dairy producers install milking robots are to improve their lifestyle and to expand without hiring additional labor.

Please check this link first if you are interested in organic or specialty dairy production.

What drives robot profitability?

Milk …

How to Properly Discipline and Terminate Dairy Employees

Man holding corn silage

This should not be construed as legal advice. State laws vary and dairy operators should check with a licensed attorney in their state on how employment law will apply.


Once your dairy takes on employees, it is inevitable that at some point you will have to discipline or terminate one of them. Disciplining and terminating, like hiring, requires the employer to keep records. Dairy operators must keep in mind that anti-discrimination laws, public policy, and employment contracts may limit …

What Is Your Farm’s Future?

This is a good time to assess where your farm business is headed and how the next generation might be involved.

Please check this link first if you are interested in organic or specialty dairy production.

The holiday season brings forth feelings of happiness, joy, and anticipation about seeing family and friends at holiday gatherings. For many, there are memories of older generations who are no longer with us. There is reminiscing.

A family may reflect on how their …

Including Employees in the Decision-Making Process


How many farms operate under the “Ben Cartwright School of Farm Management” where the boss (owner) makes all the decisions and the employees execute the “orders”? In this kind of operation, employees believe that they are always “walking on eggshells” in the presence of the owner because he frequently criticizes the speed and quality of their work. If an employee makes a suggestion to the owner, the idea is quickly dismissed, and the employees are told that the idea …

Farm Financial Scorecard

This worksheet is an easy way to see how your farm stacks up financially and monitor performance changes from year to year. It allows you to compare various aspects of financial performance to accepted industry benchmarks, and tells you how to find the numbers you need from your records and some economic definitions and concepts.

Please check this link first if you are interested in organic or specialty dairy production.

Evaluating Performance and Providing Feedback to Employees


“How am I doing?” Nearly all employees want an answer to this question.

Who in your business now knows how they are doing? Employers/supervisors in small businesses too often answer in one or more of the following ways:

  1. No one.
  2. Some do, some don’t.
  3. They can all figure it out.
  4. The ones who most need to improve.
  5. No one – I don’t want them asking for more money.
  6. Everyone. I tell others, and the word gets back to them.

Building a Dairy Farm Team


Would anyone doubt that a successful dairy farm requires a team effort? Silly question? Not at all. Most dairy farms have groups of people or collections of individuals rather than teams. Success does not demand a team approach. A farm manager who prefers a team approach faces a tough test of patience, people skills, and communication.

Please check this link first if you are interested in organic or specialty dairy production

Team Basics

A dairy farm can have a …

Building Family Business Relations


Hiring only non-family members would likely make labor management in your business easier than working with family members. The fact is, however, that most small businesses include two or more family members: spouses, children, in-laws, siblings, and parents. Family members usually have some key management responsibilities and also work daily in the business. The overall benefits of having family members in the business are usually judged to outweigh the challenges, frustrations, hard feelings, and stress.

This paper has five …

Dairy Cattle Business Management and Dairy Farm Labor


Business management of dairy cattle operations is increasingly important if family goals are to be achieved in today’s dairy economy. Managing labor and farming operations effectively can lead to improved overall profits and success. The following articles deal with some of the areas that dairy producers should consider, including labor management, dairy farm financial records and analysis, budgeting, and business planning.

Business and Labor Management Videos


The Role of Human Resource Management in Risk Management


Human resources have two roles in risk management. First, people are a source of risk, e.g., shortage of employees, people doing sloppy work, an employee refusing to take on additional responsibility, or a key employee leaving two months after completion of a one-year training program. Second, people are important in handling risk, e.g., people using their ingenuity to solve unexpected problems, employees going the extra mile for the good of the organization, a key employee redesigning her own job …