Panel: Robotic Milking Systems: Past, Present and Future

The panel will include 3 dairy producers (Korb Whale; Ron Groen, and Jon Wiley) and a genetics expert (Carolin Turner) and we will discuss and allow questions on all things robotic milking.

Jon Wiley - Fairmount Farms was started in the early 70s with Jon's father and grandfather. Jon and his parents and incorporated the farm in the early 2000s after Jon graduated from Ridgetown college. Since then, one wife and 2 kids later, they've gone from milking 65 cows in a parallel parlor down to 52 cows with a lely robot system. Since 2013 they’ve incorporated automated feeding for the dairy herd and automated calf feeding. They’ve increased their operation to one full time employee and one part time employee and are farming 1500 acres. Jon is the current chair of the Grey County Milk Committee as well.


Korb Whale along with his wife Kelly and Korb’s parents, Bruce and Deborah, farm in Wellington County in Ontario. Korb is the 7th generation to farm where his ancestors from England settled in 1845. They currently milk 160 cows with an external rotary parlour on 475 acres at Clovermead Farms. They produce all their own feed and cash crop any surplus. In 2014, they were the winners of the DFC Sustainability Award for their efforts over three generations to meet the three pillars of sustainability.  The environment, financial and community all factor strongly in this farm’s success. Recently, the Whales have begun producing Ice Cream at Mapleton’s Organic in Teviotdale. This farm is an organic dairy, milking 60 cows on robots, an ice cream plant, a store and an agri-tourism business.

Korb is a member of DFC and DFO sustainability committees, a board member of Lactanet and DFC, a member of the North Wellington CPF (Canadian Parents for French) Chapter; a lifetime member of the Highland Rugby club; a director for Cornerstone Renewables Inc., a soccer coach and was a delegate with Gaylea Foods for 8 years. He enjoys travelling and playing hockey in his spare time and loves nothing more than playing the guitar and singing around the campfire with his family and friends.

Korb graduated from McMaster University with a degree in Civil Engineering, and after graduation spent a year working for Environment Canada at the BAPMoN (Background Atmospheric Pollution Monitoring Network) laboratory in Alert at the Northern tip of Elsmere Island. Korb continued as an engineer for 3 more years travelling to New Zealand for a year working in the dairy industry and through Europe. He came home to farm in 2000.


Carolin Turner is one of the most knowledgeable people working in the dairy industry today, and though she has been involved with Classification at Holstein Canada since 1994, it came after extensive upbringing and education in the field. Graduating in 1990 with a B.Sc. in Animal Science from the University of Guelph, she has worked her way from a Nutritional Assistant to her role in Classification at Holstein Canada. In this role, she divides her time between training and mentoring classifiers and being an active classifier in the field. During this time, Carolin has gained the experience necessary to conduct and assist the progressive development of all dairy breeds in Canada.

Carolin’s career has taken her to every level of the dairy industry, giving her a working understanding on everything from nutrition to breeding programs. In 1994, she became a National Classifier for Holstein Canada, working with dairy producers to assess dairy cattle across Canada. She was promoted to the role of National Classification Coordinator in 2005, and in this leading position she guided the team of classifiers and shared her vast knowledge generously with clients to help make our nation’s dairy industry the best in the world. Carolin is always ready to take on extra responsibilities, as she did in 2019 taking a new position at Holstein Canada. Carolin was the National Program Advisor for Classification and ProAction services at Holstein Canada. She played a key role on the Holstein Canada Classification Advisory Committee and the Breed Advisory Committee as well as a pivotal promoter and support for the Compass program at Holstein Canada that launched in the fall of 2019 as well as all other Holstein Canada services, including the value of registration and genomics.

Her hands-on experience does not stop at work, though: Carolin is the co-owner of a successful Charolais cattle-breeding operation at her farm in Gananoque, Ontario, keeping the passion for cattle in her family. As well as working for Holstein Canada, she is a member of the Canadian Charolais Association and Brown Swiss Association of Canada, and in the past has been a 4-H leader. Despite all the work and travel, she manages to stay very involved with her family and friends.


Robert Matson (facilitating the panel) joined the Wallenstein Feed & Supply Ltd. Ruminant Team in 2020. Robert has been involved in the dairy industry his entire life, havng grown up on a dairy farm near Bolton, Ontario. Robert completed his MSc. at the University of Guelph, where his research focused on optimizing nutrition, housing, and management on Canadian robotic milking dairy farms. He currently resides in Guelph with his wife Julie. In his spare time, Robert enjoys volunteering for the Bolton Agricultural Society and his hometown 4-H Association.


Please stay tuned for the bio for Ron Groen - our third producer, which will be coming soon!

January 5, 2023, 7:45:00 p.m.

CEU Credits Available:

No CEU Credits will be available for this presentation.