Farming isn’t usually associated with advanced technology, is it? The truth is that farmers are spending a lot of time and money learning complex software systems, sophisticated sensors, and even robots. Despite being available for 20 years, robots have not been widely adopted by dairy farmers until recently.
Most dairy barns today install a milking system that milks the cows on its own when a new barn is built. Furthermore, you can invest in automated feeding systems, calves’ feed cleaning machines, and even clean up the manure. These technologies, and more, are used by some farms to help them take care of their cows. Come see what technology farmers use today to get a glimpse of the future farms.
Obviously, robots now milk cows. Nevertheless, the best thing you can do is to stop picturing it as a sci-fi movie. Small automated milking machines help with robotic milking, a process comparable to the milking machines you probably already use. In the early nineties, robotic milking systems became widely available. Despite this, the technology is now experiencing a growth phase thanks to increasingly reliable systems that are being installed across the globe on dairy farms.
How does it work?
A variety of robotic milking systems are available. The process generally goes like this. In the small pen, your cow will rest her udders and graze on the food being offered. A cow’s ID tag is scanned as she enters the pen, which tells the system when she was last milked, the shape of her udder, and the amount of milk she has to offer. While sanitizing and stimulating the cow’s teats, robotic arms incentivize her to produce milk. After the suction tubes are directed on each teat, lasers guide them onto the teat.
Milking by robots has its advantages
Among the benefits of using robots in milking are:
- Economic benefit: Flexibility in the labor force and elimination of long-term commitments when hiring staff.
- Milking frequency can be raised to three times a day, though most people milk 2.5 times a day.
- Therefore, the udder may be less stressed and the cow may be more comfortable since less milk is stored on average. This leads to a higher milk yield per cow.
- It is possible to improve herd management.
- The robot computer will force a farmer to properly manage his cows if he has never done so before. The report shows the conductivity, blood in the milk, and the yield per quarter.
- After the switch to robotic milking, farmers reported improved cow health, as well as a decrease in mastitis.
- A lesser level of stress on the cows contributed to this, as well as better access to information about them. Infections of the udder can be reduced through quarter-by-quarter milking, for instance.
Gather information about your herd’s health
Once again, robot milking systems come in several varieties. Wearable technology, however, tracks your cows’ health and behavior in a variety of ways. This is something like Fitbit for cows. Various cow statistics like steps taken, food intake, and ruminating can be tracked. The data can even be used to detect when a cow is fertile so that healthy pregnancies can be increased. Mobile or laptop users can access this data through a portal. Using this technique, you are able to identify anomalies that may indicate cows are unwell before problems arise.
Take a break!
It must be very labor-intensive to milk a herd, isn’t it? In the parlor, finding someone to help you every day can be a challenge. But thanks to robotic milker systems, you don’t have to worry about that. It’s taken care of automatically. By reducing your labor costs, you can focus on other parts of your dairy firm. Perhaps even a little downtime can be had.
Does it appeal to you?
Not every farmer is a fan of robotic milking systems. Control over such an important aspect of a business can be resisted by some. Those who cannot afford the high financial cost are deterred. Robotic milking systems remain in the future with no doubt. As dairy farmers increase their yields and improve the quality and welfare of their cows, the promise of increasing yields decreased labor, and improved milk quality makes them unstoppable.