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David Sparks Ph.d Robotic Milking
by David Sparks Ph.d, click here for bio

Program: Line on Agriculture
Date: November 23, 2017

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At Heber Loughmiller’s Hillside Dairy milk barn, in Elba, Idaho, cows have become best friends with robots. The 110 head organic dairy is one of the first in Idaho to install a robotic milking systemAnd it is changing life on the dairy farm. “I just spent a week in Oregon, deep-sea fishing with my kids and you can't do that if you don't have robots. It makes the lifestyle possible. There is still work. You have calves to feed, Your cow management really doesn’t change, you have to feed them, breed them, milk them but the differences you go to bed at night.” Robotic milking is a voluntary milking system which allows the cattle to set her own milking schedule. Using feed, approximately 90% of the cows are trained within three days to come to the robots. Those that are more reluctant can take up to three months. Each cow is tagged for tracking information that then allows the robot to manage everything about the cow. Milk quality and quantity, exact feed for maximum production, less cow stress and they work around the clock. All of this is managed by two humans. “ With the robots there are two things. they are just a milk cup attachment system. Guys have to figure that out. There's a big sales pitch on everything that robots do but in the end, they put the cup on the teet and they milk the cow.”

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