A milking robot makes for happy cows and happy farmers at this upstate New York farm.
Most farmers milk their dairy cows twice a day, once in the morning and once at night. But the cows at River Ridge Dairy Farm in Memphis, New York set their own daily milking schedules, and the farmers work a banker's schedule instead of the usual 12-hour days.
"It is their home, and they run it," says Karen Hooper. "They get to do what they want to do when they want to do it."
Check out the video below as individual cows head through the gates to the robotic milking system for milking time:
Automatic milking systems result in lower dairy farming labor costs, consistent milking, potentially higher yields in milk production, and less stress for the cow leading to better cow health. However, there are higher upfront costs to get the system, an increase in electricity usage, and more complex management via computer.
Most farms with automatic milking systems are in Europe, specifically the Netherlands and Denmark, but these automatic milking machines are gaining popularity with dairy farmers in the United States. Robotic milkers are changing the way farmers are milking cows!
"I can rely on them 100%," say Hooper. "Who wants to milk cows at three AM? Not me. We start our day at seven am. We're done by five...and nobody is really here during the middle of the day unless the robot calls us. Because the robot will call us if there's an issue."
Would you use a robotic voluntary milking system or would you use the conventional milking method and milk by hand if you had the choice? Let us know in the comments below!