Work Economics and Ergonomics in Dairy Farming


  • M. Schick
  • K. Heitkaemper
  • M. Riegel


Both the working-time requirement and workload for different milk-production systems are to a large extent determined by stable and yard operations. In this context, the process sequences for milking and feeding chores are of paramount importance. Added to these in future will be the growing proportion of management activities to be accomplished. The work productivity of a system as a whole can be improved by means of process-engineering, organisational and breeding measures. Process-engineering optimisation works via the increasing mechanisation of work sequences (feed distribution and refilling, automatic remover with swivel arm). In consequence, immediate savings in working time are achieved, whilst work productivity is increased. At the same time, however, there are also usually costs incurred which must be borne in mind. Organisational optimisation works via a more streamlined structuring of work with improved job organisation (e.g. outsourcing of work processes) and time planning (e.g. briefing, clear goals, further education). It also has a direct, or even indirect, positive influence on working-time requirement and productivity. The consequences in terms of cost, however, are substantially less than with process-engineering optimisation. Unfavourable body postures in combination with masses to be moved manually have a negative influence on work quality. To date, simple aids for ergonomic analysis and evaluation of stable-and-yard-work procedures have been lacking. Used together with the calculation of the working-time requirement of various milking processes, the expanded OWAS method with its mass-related load index is therefore a helpful tool for recording work processes quickly and easily, and evaluating their ergonomic components.The incorporation of all components of interest in a work-economics context (time requirement, load, productivity and ergonomics) in a work-budget system allows for the extensive classification of any agricultural work process right up to the whole-farm and sectoral level.






Technology and Management to Increase the Efficiency in Sustainable Ag. Systems