While farmers are unlikely to ever be so high tech that they can be completely hands-off, new robotic milking machines are taking some of the labor pressure off farmers in upstate New York.
New robotic milkers both feed and milk cows without involving a single human hand, saving farmers time and labor costs.
Mike Borden, 29, whose family has farmed dairy cattle for seven generations, has upgraded to the around-the-clock operation and told The New York Times, “it’s a lot more fun than doing manual labor.”
The tireless robot milkers allow the cow to choose when to be milked — often they line up several times daily. Each cow gets “personalized” service thanks to a transponder “necklace” that charts cows milk amount and quality, how much grass they’ve consumed and even how many steps they have taken — the latter can indicate if she is in heat.
With a cost of around $250,000 for a unit upgrading isn’t cheap but farmers using the high tech gear can cut back on labor costs and find their cows give more and better quality milk. Mike’s Dad, Tom, added: “I don’t think I’m ever going to sleep in real late, but if we could roll it back another hour, that would be great.”