DeLaval is part of the robot-led dairy revival in Japan. These milking robots – the sale of which jumped 67 per cent after doubling in 2015 – are being increasingly introduced. Currently, only 2 per cent of all dairy farms in Japan use robotic systems, but this number is expected to reach 30 per cent. We also expect that the use of robots will spread faster in Japan than in other countries.
There's much potential here after years of industry decline. Bigger, more efficient, robotic dairies like that of DeLaval user, Jin Kawaguchiya, owner of Kalm Kakuyama and Asia's largest automated milking factory, are now emerging. This trend is driven by several factors, including the difficulty finding cheap labour and the government's investment in information technology and subsidies for milking robots after signing the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Raw-milk output is recovering accordingly: according to the ministry of agriculture, production rose 1.1 per cent from a year earlier in the first half of 2016. Kawaguchiya's farm is also facing better prospects. After a 1.5 billion-yen investment in DeLaval dairy equipment and generators in 2015, his raw milk production quadrupled to 4,500 metric tons in 2016. If this growth curve continues, his output in 2017 will be almost 10 times the output of the average Japanese dairy farm. DeLaval stands ready to help other farmers do the same.