Saturday, May 30, 2015

What's it like to go from traditional dairy to robotic dairy?

There's a blog written by a long-time dairy family about their transition to a robotic milking system.  I'ts interesting to me because that's one way to get to where I want to go with with farm.  current robots can milk between 40 and 60 cows, with the cows choosing the time they get milked, and the robot tracking everything -- down to the milk production from each individual teat - cows have 4.

You'll find the blog here


Chris said...

That was completely fascinating.... do you think this is the future of small farms? The chemical applications are necessary for sterilization etc... but that's the part I worry about, mishandling, seepage into my aquifier etc...

The whole thing makes for an interesting case in farm automation which will have to happen with the way the labor and next generation wants to flee agriculture. It would be interesting to see the penciled costs for year 1 through 3.

Bruce King said...

I'm hoping that they write up the whole thing, even if it doesn't work out exactly as they wanted. I'd like to see a more-objective view of the process that isn't a promotional piece by the robot manufacturers. Not that they're biased or anything :)

I think that this is a quality-of-life change for the farmer. Livestock farming is 365x24 operation, and this sort of automation can allow a farmer to be less tied to the milking schedule, and less-reliant on human help. These machines cost a pretty penny, and come with a monthly maintenance contract ($1k-2K/month) so they're not as cheap as they might appear, but if they save $60k in labor costs, they pay for themselves in a few years.