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Comestar

Marc Comtois, France Lemieux, Julien Turmel, Julie and Steve Comtois.

Comestar farm is world-renowned for its genetics and its sires, for which the semen has been sold in over 57 countries.

On October 13, 2020, Comestar Farm started using a robotic milking system for part of its herd. However, their adventure started long before that. In fact, the Comptois family had been thinking about using a robotic milking system for a very long time. It was only three years before the inauguration of the new barn that the project was actually started. Of course, the Meunerie Ducharme team took part in the project, for the planning, the herd’s preparation for the transition, and the subsequent follow-ups.

The barn, with its six robots, was designed to maximize animal comfort: it includes stalls with sand bedding, a forced traffic system and a ventilation system which ensure temperature stability year-round. Today, the milking quality has greatly improved (3-4 miklings/day), and so has the herd’s longevity. Thanks to the data provided by the robots which detect heat, the pregnancy rate is much higher.

Since October 2020, the Comestar team is unanimous; the data from the robots speaks for itself. The combination of the robotic milking system and the excellence of the herd’s genetics result in exceptional milking performances. Robotic milking allows the farm to fully exploit the genetic potential of their herd.

The transition to robotic milking went very smoothly, and according to the Comtois, this is largely due to the excellent relationship they have with their nutrition advisor and their other suppliers. “At the begging, we had to closely monitor and manage the animals’ nutrition with Éric Simoneau (dairy nutrition advisor, Meunerie Ducharme). This allowed us to rapidly reach today’s production levels and we’re extremely proud of that,” says Steve Comptois. He also added that the quality of the Shur-Gain products and the collaboration with the feed mill team greatly contributed to these results and to the success of the project start-up.

Julien and Éric both agree that their mutual availability has allowed them to closely and frequently monitor
the situation. Éric Simoneau confirms it: “They followed all the recommendations from the robot supplier and the Ducharme team so everything could go as planned. This collaboration and the herd’s management eased the transition, and this was quickly confirmed by the results.

“Shur-Gain

Dairy Nutrition Advisor
Éric Simoneau, T.P.

Service Centre: Meunerie Ducharme

Comestar

> Victoriaville, Centre-du-Québec

Owners: Marc Comtois and France Lemieux, Julie Comtois, Julien Turmel, Steve Comtois

Number of lactating cows: 360 Holstein

Avg. production:
• Butterfat: 4.46 %
• Protein: 3.32 %
• Average: 40 kg
• Somatic cells: 71,000