Minglewood Inc., located in Deer Park, looks different today than when it started 126 years ago. Currently, the fourth and fifth generation are involved and have implemented robotic technology. The herd is milked using two methods, with a capacity of 480 cows in the new robotic facility and the remainder of the herd is milked using a parlor.
The farm is owned by Kevin and Roxann Solum, their son, Ryan, and daughter and son-in-law, Kristin and Jacob Quist.
DBA: What kind of robotic technology do you have on the farm?
Minglewood: We have eight DeLaval Classic Robots in a guided flow system, as well as two ValMetal Feed Pushing Robots. We also have been feeding our calves with automatic feeders since 2012.
DBA: How long has your farm had milking robots?
Minglewood: We built our robotic facility last summer and started milking on Nov. 27, 2018, with eight robots.
DBA: What made you decide to move to robots?
Minglewood: We decided to move to robots because we saw the benefits of having greater cow longevity, more milk and being able to milk more cows with less labor.
DBA: What are the challenges and benefits?
Minglewood: The benefits far outweigh the challenges we have seen so far. The benefits being that it is a low stress environment for the cows and increasing cow longevity. Our biggest challenge is that it was a steeper learning curve than we thought it would be.
DBA: What advice do you have for others thinking about robots?
Minglewood: Our advice is to tour as many barns as you can and to select your dealer you want to work with before you decide which brand of robot to go with. Service is a huge part of robotics and you want to make sure you are working with a dealer that you want to be doing business with.
DBA: How do the cows and employees respond to the robots?
Minglewood: The cows responded much faster than our employees. We are only eight months into it and are still learning every day!
DBA: What does the future hold for Minglewood?
Minglewood: The future is bright for the fifth generation! There are so many opportunities today that technology provides for us to manage our cows better than ever and to be better stewards of the land.
DBA: You have been a member of DBA since 2002. What benefit do you find most valuable?
Minglewood: Great people and leadership being the voice for dairy in Wisconsin and now nationally with Edge Dairy Farmer Cooperative.