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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2021

Multipurpose simulation model for pasture-based mobile Automated Milking and Marketing System, Part-I: Pasture, milk yield, and milk marketing characteristics

Bosona, Techane; Gebresenbet, Girma


It is essential to promote sustainable dairy farming which could lead to improved animal welfare, economic benefits, biodiversity and environmental benefits, milk quality, and customer satisfaction. In this regard, a mobile automated milking system (AMS) could contribute a lot. However, mobile AMS is a new innovative system which is not investigated well. Therefore, a simplified and integrated management approach should be introduced. The main objective of this study was to develop a multipurpose simulation model (DigiMilk model) specific to pasture-based mobile AMS. The model comprises five major subsystems: Pasture yield as dry matter (DM) and grazing characteristics; AMS Milking and milk yield characteristics; Milk handling and marketing; Resource consumption; and Economic assessment. This paper (Part-I) focuses on the first three components while the remaining two subsystems would be addressed in Part-II of this paper. DigiMilk model was built in MATLAB-Simulink environment. It was tested and evaluated using mainly secondary data and limited primary information acquired from a dairy farm in central Sweden. In this initial analysis, a continuous stocking system on pasture was assumed to be implemented from May 15 till September 15. Multiple sensitivity analyses were successfully conducted to get more insights. The results indicated that, considering maximum pasture growth rate of 77 kgDM day−1ha−1, the accumulated average pasture yield, over the grazing season, was estimated to be 6928 kgDM ha−1. For cows with average grazing rate of 16–18 kgDM day−1cow−1, the stocking rate of 3 cow ha−1 could lead to good performance of grazing management. When stocking rate and grazing rate of 3 cow ha−1 and 16 kgDM day−1cow−1 were considered respectively, the cumulative milk yield values (excluding amount consumed by calves) over the grazing season were estimated to be 2101 L cow−1 and 6303 L ha−1. Out of this 6303 L ha−1, 2952 L ha−1was estimated to be sold on-site, using milk vending machine (MVM), while 3351 L ha−1 was to be delivered to super market. The accuracy of results from the the simulation model could be improved with future work with more real data from actual demonstration of mobile AMS over the entire grazing season. In addition to its capacity to serve as an integrated decision making tool, DigiMilk model enables to have organized digital data that could be useful for future researches to evaluate the environmental and/or economic performances of pasture-based dairy systems with mobile AMS.


mobile automated milking system; grazing management; milking frequency; milk vending machine:Matlab Simulink; multipurpose simulation model

Published in

Computers and Electronics in Agriculture
2021, volume: 190, article number: 106212

Authors' information

Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Energy and Technology
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Energy and Technology

UKÄ Subject classification

Animal and Dairy Science

Publication Identifiers


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