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Robo Milking!

(Photo courtesy of Lely and information can be found at www.lely.com)

Post written by Stacey Bruce

Have you heard the one about the cow and the Lely Astronaut A4 Milking Machine?  It may sound like a joke, but it is reality.  A Dutch company created the robotic milking machine and it does not require any human intervention!

Information from the Lely.com website share the following about this new milking system:

“Better milk quality, higher milk production together with lower costs lead to higher profits. The Lely Astronaut A4 makes it possible to manage these three aspects to achieve the optimum results.”

This amazing technology milks 60 cows three times a day and the cost is about $200,000 for a fully installed single unit.  Leave it to our farm and agribusiness businesses to lead the way with very unique technological advances.

Here is the link to read a recent article about the milking system:

http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2012-10-05/the-210-000-cow-milking-robot

What do you think about this new technology?  We would love to hear your comments.

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One Response to Robo Milking!

  1. In response to this post, we received additional information about this topic that we wanted to share:
    Farmers seeking to eliminate nearly all labor associated with milking cows can take a look at the Lely Astronaut A4 system.
    Cows walk into a chamber attracted by higher quality food, the machine attaches itself to the cow, measures output quality, temperature, and when finished the cows walk out. There is no manual labor or oversight. Farmers can sleep in or do other chores.
    Bloomberg reports on the $210,000 Cow-Milking Robot
    The A4 does not require a human being at any point in the milking process, leaving farmers free to cook dinner, work the books, or play Parcheesi. That’s because no one has to move a cow into the milking box. The animal goes there on its own because it knows there is feed there (the cows are fed traditionally, but the A4 contains higher-protein food, and cows are really good at knowing what they’re eating and, more important, what they want to eat). The front of the box has a trough where a cow can eat a measured amount of grain while it’s being milked.
    The A4 scans a cow’s collar to determine which cow it is. The machine has a full history of that cow’s milk production and feeding habits, based on previous visits, and can tailor the amount of feed the cow receives and the rate of pulsation at the teat to produce the most milk.
    The A4 also knows the cow’s milking schedule: If a cow tries to come back for milking too soon after the last session, the feed trough swings away, the gate opens, and the cow will walk out of the box. If a cow hasn’t come through the system in a while, the A4 will alert the farmer.
    Once a cow is in the box, a carbon-fiber and stainless-steel robotic arm moves under the cow, scans it with lasers to find the teats, and attaches four teatcups in a matter of seconds. A video camera mounted above the cow measures the animal’s position in three dimensions. Should the cow move in any direction, the robotic arm will move in concert.
    The A4 can handle about 180 milkings a day, which usually translates to 60 cows milked three times daily. Total cost for a single unit, installed, is around $210,000. And the crazy thing was this: After seeing this fully automatic, 3D-camera-enabled, laser-scanning, carbon-fiber-equipped, spectral analyzing system, $210,000 didn’t seem all that much to me.
    Completely Robotic Farms
    The A4 is described as a “Natural Way of Milking”. I fail to see anything “natural” about it. However, it certainly looks like a fantastic way of lowering labor costs and increasing productivity.
    How far off is the completely robotic farm where driverless machines till the soil and plant crops, and driverless combines harvest the corn, wheat, and soybeans?
    In many respects, for some crops, it’s already here.

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