With technology constantly improving, see how one dairy farm in Pennsylvania and one in Maryland are embracing a robotic future for the industry. These stories below have been excerpted from Philly.com and Lancaster Farming. Click the links to read the entire stories.
Down on the farm with the robots and drones
By Jason Nark | Philly.com
While Dave Bitler is counting sheep at night in his quaint Berks County farmhouse, laser-guided robots are milking his cows out in the barn.
These robots lure Bitler’s herd, the bovine version of Pavlov’s dogs, into state-of-the-milking stalls with a reward of high-nutrient pellets and a splash of molasses. While the cows chow, a robotic arm, similar to the kind that pops quarter panels onto frames in auto factories, swerves into position under the cow’s udder, where lasers guide the gripper toward the teats to clean them. Once the cups are on, the milk flows through tubing into a tank.
When the cow’s finished, the robotic arm is pressure-washed, then swings back into place for the next cow. This happens all day, every day with Bitler’s 290 cows, because robots never sleep.
Read the full story about how Bitler is using robotics and new technology to modernize his dairy farm.
Eastern Shore Dairy Goes All in For Robots
By Michael Short | Lancaster Farming
St. Brigid’s Farm is one of only two dairy farms in Maryland using robots for milking.
The relatively new technology saves labor and provides farmers with more flexibility because they don’t have to adhere to rigid milking times, though the machines themselves are expensive.
In April, farm owners Robert Fry and Judy Gifford installed a robot on their farm near Chestertown. They milk about 60 Jerseys and have a beef and veal operation on their 62-acre farm, which has been planted in permanent pasture. The result is lush pasture consisting of perennial mixed grasses and clover.