Robo Milkers

A recent podcast interview with a dairy farmer from Tennessee brought up a very interesting topic that I’ve totally forgotten about: robotic milking.

Imagine a future where farmers no longer have to spend hour after hour milking cows, sometimes up to for times a day.  Imagine a future where a cow can go and get milked whenever she felt like it and as often as she needed.  That future might not be that far off.  As a matter of fact, that future is now.

Currently, there are several types of robotic milking machines that take human labor almost entirely out of the equation.  Let’s go through exactly how this process works.

A Lely Astronaut robotic milking machine in operation. “There’s been a major increase in demand in the last eight to 10 years in Ireland and sales have grown exponentially since,” said Lely’s sales manager Aidan Fallon.

Robot milking machines allow cows the convenience to get milked whenever they need.  Once trained on where to go, a cow can enter the robot milker on her own and a dispenser drops down which allows the cow to eat while she’s getting milked.  A robotic arm then scans for the cows utter, cleans off the teats, and then attaches the milking unit to begin collecting milk.  Once done, the cow exits the machine and the milking unit is cleaned for the next cow.  The process continues whenever a cow feels like she needs to get milked.  Convenience for the cow and convenience for the farmer, a win/win.

Image result for lely robot milkers

The robot milker also helps keep track of vital data of each cow as they are milked.  Each cow is fitted with a collar that has a sensor which is picked up by the robot milker.  It is able to track the amount of milk produced, times milked, and other data related to the health of the cow.  This helps farmers learn about the milk production cycle for each cow as well as the ability to monitor the milk quality.

Most of us know that dairy farming is by no means a super lucrative business, as many dairy farms across the U.S. are going under due to the ever-plummeting price of milk.  While this robot milker is quite costly, it does save labor costs as well as freeing up time for dairy farmers to accomplish other tasks around the farm.

As the ag industry continues to advance in means to save labor and time, these robotic milking machines will continue to grow in popularity.  However, I’m not sure if robotic milking has caught on to the almond milk industry.  I’ve heard that almond teats are almost too small to find.


That’s all for today.  Thanks for stopping by.

– Trevor


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