Assistant professors Luis Peña-Lévano and Shaheer Burney from UWRF’s Agricultural Economics Department were recently awarded a $250,000 grant to study the financial, environmental and social impacts of adopting robotic milking on dairy farms.
While UW-River Falls is the home institution for the grant, the project is a collaboration with the University of Minnesota, University of Georgia, North Carolina State University and Texas A&M University.
Peña-Lévano and Burney hope the results of their research will guide dairy farmers in Wisconsin and Minnesota as they consider whether to make the significant investment necessary to transition to an automatic milking system (AMS).
“Our goal is to evaluate the feasibility of AMS from the financial, environmental and labor demand perspective,” said Burney, director of the UWRF’s Survey Research Center. “Ultimately, we are trying to answer the question: ‘Do the long-term benefits of adopting AMS exceed the high up-front cost of installing such systems?’”
The conclusions could guide farmers in a struggling industry in making a major decision with the potential to improve their profitability and possibly even their lifestyle.
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