I’ve learned that dairy farmers have been on the forefront of adopting new technologies for decades, which helps them manage their herds more efficiently. Dairy farms across the country have implemented high-tech
- Automatic milking systems to optimize milk time and reduce risk of contamination
- Computerized ear-tagging systems to gather real-time data about the health and milk production of individual cows
- Advancements in breeding, care, and diet of cows (most dairy cows see their doctor more often than people!) to improve production. These practices, among others, help farmers manage their herds of happy, healthy cows, and optimize production of safe, high-quality milk.
But that’s not all.
One of the most fascinating advancements in dairy farming is the use of robotics for milking. A few weeks ago, I was fortunate to experience an excellent tour of Iowa’s Dairy Center, where dairy cows are milked with a robotic system. With this totally automated system, cows choose to be milked 3-4 times daily. However, since it’s a free-flow system, a cow in the right stage of lactation can be milked up to six times in a day if she chooses. Robotic milking works like this:
- The cow walks into the milking stall when she wants
- The robot dispenses feed for the cow to eat while being milked
- The cow’s teats are cleaned and sanitized
- The robotic milking unit is attached, milk is collected, and the unit detaches when finished
- The teat is sprayed with a solution that conditions the cow’s skin and creates a barrier to protect the cow.
A robotic system offers new advantages for dairy farmers, and many expect a boom in robotics on dairy farms within the next several years. For more on robotics and milking, visit Iowa’s Dairy Center