Farmer/owner: Rob Corbett
Farm location: Axminster, Devon
Farm name: Castlewood Farm
Herd: 120 Holstein Friesians
Milking system: Two Fullwood robots
Date of installation: December 2012
In December 2012, the Corbett family installed a Fullwood Merlin robot to milk 75 Holstein Friesians and due to the success and flexibility robotic milking has given them, they installed a second Fullwood robot, M2erlin, in December 2015.
Penny and Colin’s son, Rob, is in charge of running Castlewood Farm. He said “the farm originally had capacity for 90 cows but now they are kept inside we have been able to increase to our full capacity and install a second robot. The farm now has a 120 strong herd with 100 of these currently being milked”.
Both robots have been installed inside two existing farm buildings. Rob has split the herd into two groups, high and low yielding, to manage them effectively through the two robots in separate barns. The high yielding group consists of around 40 cows in a 40 cubicle system, each cow is milked an average of four times through the latest robot, M2erlin, and produces 40 litres of milk per day. When the cows are in calf, they are moved to the low yielding group which currently consists of 60 cows in a larger cubicle system, being milked an average of 3.2 times per day through the older original robot and averaging 32 litres per day.
As well as managing the farm, Rob manages Castlewood Vineyard producing 5000 bottles of wine a year and manages a further 30,000 vines for Lyme Bay Winery.
Rob is able to check in on his herd, via his iPad, wherever he is. So he can remotely segregate cows, change feed levels and make other interventions. “The main benefit of robotic milking has been the overall increase in efficiency – I have more time and increased our milk yield by 50%”. He continues “without the flexibility the robots have given me, I couldn’t run a successful dairy farm and other businesses. It’s as simple as that.”