The milking of cattle in the dairy industry accomplished without the use of human effort, is what is known as Robotic Milking. It is the rapid advancements in technology during the last century which has led to the development of this form of ‘milking’. Now, the question you need to ask is, what exactly does this type of milking process entail? So, here is ‘Mmilk’ presenting you with a few vital facts about this ‘techno based’ process which, hopefully shall help you answer the question above, and thereby provide for the complete picture.
a. What is Robotic Milking, when did this unique concept originate, and why was it developed?
Any milking process which basically makes use of machines, is known as Robotic Milking. In fact, this concept is also commonly referred to as ‘Automatic Milking’. While the system used in this process is known either as Automatic milking systems (AMS) or Voluntary milking systems (VMS). Furthermore, it was during the late 19th and early 20th century that this form of automated milking process was first developed. It was introduced so as to reduce human effort, cut cost of production and for increasing its efficiency.
b. How does Robotic Milking Work?
The fascinating process of Robotic Milking essentially involves a variety of tasks to be carried out. These include collecting animals before milking, taking the cattle into the parlour, inspection and cleaning of teats, attachment of milking equipment to teats, massaging the back of the udder to relieve any held back milk, extraction of milk, and removal of milking equipment. In addition, during the ‘lactation period’ the cattle needs to be milked consistently at regular intervals (generally twice a day). With regards to the equipment, a dairy farm basically consists of a ‘milking machine’. This machine is connected to a ‘teat’ position sensor (laser) and a robotic arm. The cattle (with ID sensor tag) is brought to this machine (positioned in a barn on a dairy farm), and is passed through an ID sensor system. It is this system which checks on whether, the cow is milked or not. The cow that then needs milking is passed into the machine. It is the robotic arm on the machine which helps then in attaching the cow to the machine, in cleaning the teat, and in finally extracting the milk.
c. Robotic Milking, its advantages and disadvantages:
Robotic Milk, possesses a few advantages and disadvantages. They are as follows:
- Eliminates manual labour, and therefore reduction in time and cost.
- Increases milk consistency and frequency. In fact, a frequency of 2.5 per day is achieved.
- Creates a stress free environment for the cattle during the milking process.
- Finally, the use of automated systems (computers) enables the diary farm to store a lot of data and manage the dairy business better.
- The cost of maintaining an automated dairy farm system is extremely high.
- The cost of electricity increases with the use of machines.
- Generally, the milk produced through this automated system is of a lower quality.
- The contact between a dairy farmer and his cattle reduces, which could lead to the cows getting neglected, and therefore becoming unhealthy.
d. Problems with Robotic Milking:
It has been discovered that problems with Robotic Milking (due to its complexity) do arise from time-to-time. So, here is presenting a few tips to avoid hassles for all those who want to get involved in ‘Automated Milking’. They are as follows:
- Firstly, a thorough research on this ‘automated milking system’ must be undertaken in order to gain a better understanding of its complexities.
- Be aware of the new technologies being developed and used in the automated milking process.Also, get an idea about the kind of technology that would suit you before investing.
- Ensure that you find a high quality barn layout. This is because a good barn will enable you to manage the dairy business successfully.
Here is then hoping that the information provided in this article about Robotic Milking by us at ‘Mmilk’, satisfies all your queries pertaining this new system in dairy farming known as ‘Robotic Milking’.