Dairy farmer and Darigold Chairman, Leroy Plagerman, says the cows actually like the robots better.
Robots are now milking cows across the country, using sophisticated technology like lasers that give individualized service to each animal.
Dairy farmer and Darigold Chairman, Leroy Plagerman, has eight robots on his farm. It’s the highest number of this particular brand of robots in the Western U.S.
They’ve replaced 3 full-time employees and one part-time employee.
Each cow wears a collar that tracks all kinds of data, from how much milk she gave, to her digestive activity, to her temperature. The collar also helps the robot decide whether it’s time for her to be milked.
If it isn’t, the robot won’t start when she walks up to it. If it is, the robot will drop grain, close a pen around her, and go to work.
“A robot arm will come around to brush and clean the teets and stimulate her to drop her milk down,” Plagerman said. “There are two ways it knows where to put the teet cups. On top of the unit, there is a camera that’s shining down on the cow to see where she is positioned in the robot. The computer knows the coordinates of where the teets were from memory of the last time it milked her. Then the laser will shine on the teets and identify exactly where it is to go up on it.”
Plagerman likens it to self-service milking, and believes his cows like it better too.
“What’s so nice about it is our cows are so relaxed now in this environment. We no longer have to chase them all out of their pen, away from their feed, away from their water, away from their stall where they can lay down,” Plagerman said. “They can all make their own schedule and decide when they want to get milked.”