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The robot can milk both Jerseys and Holsteins

Marijn van Aart Kennispartner Agrimedia

Marijn van Aart bought one of the first Gemini milk robots in the Netherlands in 2011. Marijn, his wife, and their three young daughters run a dairy farm in Flevoland. "Recently, we were asked if we were interested in upgrading to the Gemini UP and if we wanted to embark on a new adventure once again." 


Installation of the Gemini UP  

The single-box Gemini UP is an independent 2-in-1 module that is quick and easy to install. "We thought it would be very difficult to remove the old robot and install a new one, but together (van Aart and the dealer) we did all the preparations," he explains. The last cow was milked at 8:00 am in the morning, and by 8:00 pm in the evening, they were finished and could start milking again.

"On our farm, we didn't have much trouble. Everything went smoothly. We had expected to have a few days of problems because this was the first time cows were being milked with the revised system. But it was actually ready for use straight away. We installed it and it started milking immediately as we had hoped."

Reaction of the cows 

"The design of the robot has not changed much. The cow still makes up part of the herd. So, as soon as she enters the robot, she can look around and see what's happening on either side of her. This really keeps the cow calm and makes it attractive for her to go into the robot. We see this with new heifers that have just calved. They walk easily into the robot and we can select them with the single box to go into a straw box. This makes life as a farmer easier for me. We replaced the robots, but the cows still went into the robot as if nothing had changed," says Van Aart. 


Other benefits of the Gemini UP

When asked about other results or benefits he had observed since starting the Gemini UP on his farm, Van Aart said: "The first thing that struck me is that it's much quieter in the barn. The vacuum pump is no longer located in the robot itself but in a separate machine room. That makes it more comfortable to work in the barn and be close to the robot."

"What also really surprised us is how much less energy and water we're using now. We're saving a significant amount each month on our electricity bill, so that's a nice benefit."

He then talked about the changes in the milking process. "What we noticed during the first milking session was the adapted milking technique; the milk hoses are now wider. There's no longer any resistance in the hoses and pipes from the cow to the milk reception. As a result, cows are now being milked faster. Milk production is higher, and vacuum is more stable."

Van Aart also finds it pleasant that the Vision detection system of the Gemini UP is suitable for the different breeds in his herd. "The robots can milk both Jerseys and Holsteins without us needing to make any adjustments to the robots."


Would choose Gemini again

"From a milk production perspective, the Gemini is just a very strong robot with a very fresh approach to robotic milking itself. If we had to do it again, we would choose a robot and choose a Gemini again."

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