The long held idea of the lone diary famer perched on his three-corner stool milking his cows twice daily is slowly becoming a thing of the past. First came milking machines, which made the milking process much easier, now according to the Star Tribune, dairy robots are revolutionizing the entire business. Singularity Hub concurs, highlighting how new dairy farming machines are being used in Europe.
The United States is by all accounts the world leader in developing and adopting new technology on the farm, and that includes the dairy farm. In this latest go round, robot maker Lely has created a machine that takes over virtually every aspect of dairy farming.
The Tribune says the new robot sits in the barn waiting for cows to arrive, which they do when they want to be milked because it’s uncomfortable for them. Upon their arrival, the robot cleans each teat with a special brush and soap and water, then attaches suction cups where it pulls out the milk as has been done with milking machines. While it’s doing so, it tests the milk for its chemical properties and creates a custom meal for the cow after it finishes milking. When the cow finishes eating, it is shooed back out of the barn. Because of the way the process occurs, no herding of the cows is needed, nor is human intervention. People serve as overseers, making sure things go as they are supposed to, and cleaning the robot itself each day. The milk collected from the cows is piped to huge stainless steel containers in a separate building where it is chilled and stored for pickup by dairy processing firms, click here.
Singularity Hub says that removing the human element from dairy farming makes the cows more productive as they get to be milked when they choose not at a preset time of the farmer’s choosing. It also helps to improve the lives of the farmers of course, taking away as it does, virtually all of the time consuming, back braking work that used to be so common. It also cuts down injuries, of which dairy farmers are notoriously prone, from being stepped on, kicked and pushed against walls to illnesses from cattle feces.
The Tribune notes that new technology on the dairy farm may one day soon lead to the elimination of the human dairy farmer altogether as their skills slowly become obsolete and they are replaced by robot overseers.