Nordic region: What’s the AMS situation on dairy farms?

11-01 | |
The number of AMS boxes is highest in Norway where at the end of 2020 there were 2,453 farms with 2,571 AMS boxes. Photo: Matthijs Verhagen
The number of AMS boxes is highest in Norway where at the end of 2020 there were 2,453 farms with 2,571 AMS boxes. Photo: Matthijs Verhagen

What do we know about the Nordic region and Automatic Milking Systems? Here, a glance back to the end of 2020 shows that Automatic Milking Systems (AMS) was in use at 31% of Nordic dairy farms.

It is estimated that 38% of Nordic milk was produced at AMS farms and 35% of Nordic cows were milked with milking robots at the end of 2020, according to a group from the Nordic Dairy Associations’ Committee for Milk Quality – Technology (NMSM).

The latest numbers from NMSM show that AMS development in Denmark is decreasing, in Sweden the number of farms is stable, but in other Nordic countries the farmers still invest in AMS (see Figure below).

Søren B. Nielsen, a milk quality advisor from SEGES, which is the leading agricultural knowledge and innovation centre in Denmark, states: “When we look at dairy farms in Denmark, the number is also going down while the farms are getting bigger – and have more cows. I think the statistic [that AMS development in Denmark is decreasing] is a result of the structure development in Danish dairy farms – fewer but bigger farms.”

Nielsen adds: “In Denmark, there have been many farms with 1, 2 or 3 robots (70, 140 or 200 cows). The farms of that size are typical of the farms that stop [operating], and the farms, which are expanding are bigger farms. When AMS farms expand they often invest in AMS again, but most of the farms with 500 cows or more choose milking in a parlour.”

Figure – Development of AMS farms in Nordic countries from 1996.

Foto: 2

Milk from AMS farms

At the end of 2020 there were 9 260 AMS boxes at 5 797 farms which is 1,6 AMS box per farm. In the Nordic countries there were 18 833 dairy farms at the end of 2020, which means that 31% of all dairy farms have AMS. These farms are bigger than the average farms and based on this the technical group of NMSM evaluates that of about 1,4 million cows in the Nordic countries 35% are milked with milking robots. Of milk production this is estimated to be 38% – meaning that of the total milk production of 12,4 billion, 4,7 billion kilo of milk is coming from AMS farms.

Higher number of AMS boxes

The number of AMS boxes is highest in Norway where at the end of 2020 there were 2,453 farms with 2,571 AMS boxes. The size of farms is the biggest in Denmark with 3,3 boxes per farm. While the Swedish dairy farms are the second biggest with 1,9 boxes per farm, and the rest of the Nordic countries have less than 1,7 boxes per farm (see Table 1).

Although there are big differences in the milk production between the Nordic countries, it is a common feature that a noticeable proportion of milk is delivered from AMS farms. The various milk quality parameters, like cell and bacterial counts and free fatty acids, require special attention, with the Nordic network in research and in exchanging practical experiences, it is more important than ever before.

Source and more info: NMSM

About NMSM

Nordic dairy and advisory companies have a network that works across the borders with different mutual subjects in milk quality. This network is called NMSM (Nordiske Mejeriorganisationers Samarbejdsudvalg for Mælkekvalitetsarbejde, which translates as, Nordic Dairy Associations’ Committee for Milk Quality – Technology) and one group in NMSM works with technical issues around milk quality. This group, among other things, collects from AMS companies in the Nordic countries yearly statistics about the use of AMS in these countries.

Van Dijk
Zana Van Dijk Editor Dairy Global

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