The decision to automate

Written by Christine Bush
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“Mike is showing them you don’t have to stand in the parlor three hours in the morning and three hours at night,” Heather says. “I think dairying is much more appealing to them because they know they can do their work and still have the option to leave if they want to.”

The robotics system doesn’t mean the Haineses are removed from the dairy. Mike says that now he works more efficiently and has more time to manage their operation.

“It gives you more time to do the things you didn’t have time to do before,” he says. “I’m managing things better now and I’ve made it to just about every one of the boys’ football games this year. It’s fun being able to leave, and I know that if there’s a problem, the system will call my cell phone.”

It was a tough road for the Haineses, but they accomplished the two things they set out to do. They established a milking routine that works for the cows and is good for the family, and Mike gets time to see his sons.

“Getting to see the boys’ activities is so important to Mike, Heather and the kids,” Bontrager says. “That alone you will never put a price on 10 years down the road.”

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