Robot Farmers: The Latest and Greatest in Milk Production

Barstow’s Dairy Store and Bakery visitors and Lely robot expert, Dave Patteson, of Lely North America, enjoyed a tour of the  milking barn and robotic milkers for the Dairy Month Lecture Series on Sunday, June 24 at Barstow’s Longview Farm.

In case you missed it, we have this short recap for you:

  • Technology in the dairy barn, like the milking robots at Barstow’s, improves animal health, welfare, comfort, nutrition, and milk quality.  The robotic milkers have also reduced feed costs, reduced veterinarian bills, reduced labor costs, reduced the number of hours the farmers spent milking, and expanded the interest of the next generation.
  • The robot milkers automatically clean the teats and milk the cow without the help of a farmer.  A cow’s visit to the robot is always the same and consistency is key to a happy cow.
  • Each animal wheres an RFID chip collar so the robot knows how often she is milking and how much milk she gives each time.  It also tracks how much the animal is ruminating and moving around.  A scale weighs the cow when she visits the robot milker.  All of this data helps us to be better parents to our girls.
  • Sometimes cows get sick.  If our animals are feeling under the weather, we want to help them be comfortable and get better.  If prescribed by a vet, we will treat a cow with antibiotics.  In this case, we will tell the robot to dump the milk of that particular animal every time she visits the milker, not to be used for anything, until the “withhold” period on the milk is over.
  • The robot milker shuts down 3 times a day to clean for 30 minutes and it cleans for 2 minutes between treated animals (cows with medication in their system).
  • In a free stall robot barn, the cows can eat, sleep, drink, relax, socialize, or get milked whenever they want.  Barstow’s used to milk their herd twice a day at 4am and 4pm which meant cows were in a holding area where they could not relax.  Now our girls decide how to plan their day.

Questions?  Barstow’s is honored to be an educational resource for our community.  Always feel free to reach out with your dairy and agriculture questions on our Contact Page.

That’s it for the Dairy Month Lecture Series! Check our event calendar for more educational events – or schedule your own farm tour.

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