Farm robot lets cow decide when it wants to be milked

Farm robot lets cow decide when it wants to be milked

Robotic milkers are letting cows decide when it’s time for them to be milked in America

Domestic Cattle, Holstein Friesian type dairy cows, herd standing in pasture, Port Soderick, Isle of Man

Milking machines are helping US farmers to cut costs  Photo: Alamy

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Robotic milking machines that let the cows decide when the time is right to be milked have proved a huge success with the upstate New York bovine community.

Many farmers have turned to milking machines in recent years over soaring costs and the difficulty of finding reliable labourers.

The cows are given the freedom to choose when they want to be milked and fed by the machines, often five or six times a day.

Once the animals walk into cupboard-sized sections, their bellies are scanned by lasers before being milked by mechanical milk cups.

The machines monitor the amount of quality of the milk each cow produces, alongside the amount of food they’ve eaten and the number of steps they’ve taken, according to The New York Times.

One farming family the Bordens told the newspaper the cows have become so accustomed to the machines, they had started lining up outside the machines of their own volition.

The machines generally produce more milk than if the cows were milked by multiple farmhands, which benefits the animals as they require near constant milking.

Costing around $250,000 for a unit complete with mechanical arm, computerised displays, milking apparatus and sensors, the machines offer the benefit of not being bothered by the anti-social hours.

Susan’s father Tom Borden said: “I don’t think I’m ever going to sleep in real late, but if we could roll it back another hour, that would be great.”

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