Success with AMS : a quantitative study of what determines success of farmers using Automatic Milking Systems (AMS) in Norway
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- Master Thesis 
The aim of this thesis is to explain what determines success of Norwegian dairy farmers who use automatic milking systems (AMS). Since the beginning of the 21st century, AMS have accounted for an increasing share of milk production in Norway, where it is estimated that farms using AMS produced 50 % of Norwegian milk in 2017. Earlier literature indicates that AMS can be beneficial compared to conventional milking systems in terms of financial performance, cow health and working conditions, but few studies have considered variation among farmers using AMS. To understand the variation in success among farmers using AMS, success is measured using both economic and social aspects, including income, job satisfaction, mental wellbeing and family-work balance. It is considered whether farm and farmer characteristics and exploitation of the milking system significantly affect these measurements of financial performance and welfare of dairy farmers. This thesis uses a cross-sectional dataset, including answers from a questionnaire for the year 2017, answered by 739 Norwegian dairy farmers who use AMS. In order to study the economic and social aspects of success, regression and factor analyses are conducted. The results indicate that farm and farmer characteristics and exploitation of AMS have implications for the economic and social aspects of success. Farm and farmer characteristics as gender, herd size, education, lack of successor, having colleagues and years with AMS are relatively static determinants of success or changeable in the long run. More dynamic variables with impact on success are training in AMS, counselling in AMS and usage of information from the milking system in long term planning, which are changeable in the shorter run. The findings highlight a potential for improvements in the milking system, the positive effects of available training and counselling in AMS and the importance of farmers becoming conversant with the new technology, in order to improve income, job satisfaction, mental wellbeing and family-work balance.