In this scary world of technology that’s coming for your jobs, here’s one practical use that will actually help save jobs: Cow-milking robots.
Dairy farming is grueling work. Farmers have to get up early to milk their cows every day, and continue to do so two to three times per day, 365 days per year. There is no downtime and margins are thin. This has led to a sharp decline in the number of dairy farmers, according to this report by local NPR affiliate KUOW, from about 2,000 in the 1960s to about 480 today in Washington State.
But robots can help change all that. It’s simple: the system is automated and the cows choose when they want to be milked. They walk into the milking station, and the machine hooks up and milks them. When they’re done, they get a tasty grain treat as an incentive.
The KUOW report focuses on Skagit Valley farmer Alan Mesman and his family, the second operation in Washington to use the robot milkers. The Mesmans become part of a network of six farms total that are using the robots statewide, including Lynden farmer Louis Bouma, who is also featured.
Bouma says that the robots have increased production about 10 percent. They even text him when there are problems with the system.
And the cows? “They love it!” Bouma says.
Watch the video here: