EINNEWS, November 17—Here’s a whatever-will-they-think-of-next story: A robot that milks cows.

(see it for yourself in this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Vo4NJU5wTk)

The “old” way of milking cows was to have farm workers round them up, connect them to milking equipment, and manually track milking times and yield.

The 21st century way is to let the cow saunter into a robotic milking stall, let the robot do the rest, and then saunter out again. Each robot can do 175 milkings a day, taking about 8 minutes per cow, less time than if the milking were done manually.

Farms using the machines are seeing labor cost reductions on the order of 75 percent and increased milk production.

When the cow walks into the milking stall the robot “recognizes” the cow by a transponder in her collar which includes personal data about the cow, such as her expected yield and her milking record. Then, using a hydraulic arm, lasers and an imaging processing system, all sanitized between milkings, the robot does the rest.

Dairy farmers can access the entire system and all the cows’ records using a laptop computer.

While the robots have become popular in Europe, they have been slow to migrate to U.S. dairy farms because of strict federal and state regulations. It’s estimated that only 1 percent of U.S. dairy farms have installed them to date.

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