KEMPTVILLE — The story shared over coffee at the Ottawa Valley Farm show last month was that the robotic milker donated to the college had been moved to Guelph or Ridgetown.
But that isn’t so, says Semex regional sales manager Ryan Giguere, who said he confirmed on March 26 that the robotic milker is still in the dairy barn at the Kemptville College farm. Semex, practically a neighbour of the college, rents a barn for recipient heifers and crop land at the college farm.
The Lely A3 Next robotic milker introduced in 2006 was installed at the college in 2011, said Dundas Agri-Systems general manger Levi DeJong, who was called in a few years ago to clean the lines attached to the robot. He said that if the province decided to move the robot, he would know about it because he installed it. He added that the unit is in good shape and many of the same models are in farms across Ontario.
“I get a couple of calls a month” asking if the robotic milker is still there, DeJong said.
Farm property manager Doug Lees also told Farmers Forum that the robot is still on the college campus farm. Much of the rest of the college was signed over to the Township of North Grenville on March 28.
The robotic milker was donated to the college by area farmers and college supporters who raised $380,000 through the Kemptville College Foundation and the Kemptville College Alumni Association. The province also poured $1 million into the college dairy barn to upgrade it for teaching purposes.
The robot, which has now been collecting dust for a few years, is a sore point with many college alumni, some of whom believe the province should put the robot to good use by returning it to those who raised the money for it.