Today robotic milking machines are transforming the dairy industry but the man behind this revolution was an unknown Kiwi inventor.
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The modern milking revolution began in New Zealand more than 100 years ago.
The modern milking revolution began in New Zealand more than 100 years ago.

In the early 1900s, Norman John Daysh invented the vacuum-pump milking machine that went on to revolutionise the dairy industry.

And it all began on the kitchen table of his father’s North Island farm.

Grandson John Daysh said: “It’s something we Kiwis should be really proud of. Norman grew up as a farm boy in Pahiatua and he was fascinated by all the machinery being developed at that time, and he decided to find a way to milk cows mechanically.”
Grandson John Daysh said: “It’s something we Kiwis should be really proud of. Norman grew up as a farm boy in Pahiatua and he was fascinated by all the machinery being developed at that time, and he decided to find a way to milk cows mechanically.”

He said his grandfather experimented with early machines on a cow called Daisy in the Wairarapa farmhouse kitchen.

“People had been trying to find a milking machine for 50 years or so, including Edison the great inventor in America, but none of them were actual dairy farmers.

“People had been experimenting with all sorts of things that sounded quite painful for the cow, including rollers and copper pipes inserted into the teats.

“My grandfather’s was successful because he was a dairy farmer, and he knew how sensitive cows were, and how to extract milk in a way which was comfortable to the cow and efficient for the workers, which was revolutionary really.”

Norman Daysh secured more than 20 patents for his machine before travelling from Wairarapa to New York in 1913 in the hopes of finding a global company interested in helping him perfect the machine he had designed.

In New York, the DeLaval company recognised the potential of Norman’s machine and his innovative spirit. Together they fine-tuned the machine, and then in 1917, launched it to the world.

DeLaval CEO Joakim Rosengren, paid tribute from the company’s headquarters in Sweden: “Norman John Daysh was truly a visionary innovator. A truly remarkable man who was basing his innovation on vision and most importantly – animal welfare. These are values that the company is still based on. We still continue to thrive on and innovate for dairy farmers around the world.”

You can hear John Daysh talk about his grandfather here.

 

Wisconsin dairies were among National Mastitis Council’s “cream of the crop” for producing quality milk during its Feb. 2 National Dairy Quality Awards program.

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