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Cows that milk themselves

Wednesday 24 Sep 2008 12:00a.m.

Cows that milk themselves

At a time when the dairy industry is booming and workers are in short supply, cutting edge technology is lending a helping hand.

The country's first robotic dairy farm is now up and running, complete with milking robots that allow the cows to choose their own milking time.

It is run by robots, milking robots that allow cows the freedom to be milked whenever they choose.  Each animal has its own computerised collar giving it access to the milking shed, and monitoring its milk outflow and health.
“It sends that information to the computer everytime she comes into the robot to milk, and we use that data to keep track of cow health and eating patterns,” says farm manager Paul Berdell.

And with the change in technology comes a change in lifestyle.

“You don't have the early morning starts and it's all done for you, you just have to push the odd cow and that's about all and I’d never go back to normal milking again because the robot does it all for you,” says share milker Ben Scott.

And it is not just the cow sheds that have had an overhaul, with the farm boasting a solar powered mobile electric fence and an innovative effluent system that is more environmentally friendly.

And the technology gets the thumbs-up from other dairy farmers in the know.
Name: joel farmer
“We've got huge staff shortages that we need to help out with - it's fantastic,” says one farmer.

With eight milking machines already in mid-Canterbury and southland, the days of early starts and unpleasant showers could soon be just a memory.

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