Monday, April 11, 2011

Milking Systems

For a blog entitled Life on the Farm I don't really talk about farming much. That could be because I don't KNOW much about farming...I just live with the affects( or is it effects? I never did get that figured out!)


Kenton has been looking at milking systems for quite awhile. We currently have a tie stall system for sixty cows. Tie stalls: the milker and equipment go to the cow. We...[why WE? I don't have any idea. I don't actually do much but provide moral and critical(you do know what I mean here, right?) support.] As I was saying, we switch cows around so we can milk 120 but that pretty much maxes us out...unless we want to deal with tons of even more inconvenience. We don't. But we're maxed out and have more cows coming fresh(having calves and being ready to milk). Something really needs to be done. We can sell those lovely mamas but they're not bringing much. We are maybe breaking even, if that. We'd rather have the milk.

We've been looking at parlors for years. Milking parlors that is. ( Did you wonder if I was off on another tangent? I am now. WHY do they call them milking parlors? Why not breastrooms? Okay, sorry that was really tacky, crude, and inappropriate. ) If I remember correctly, there are rotary, herringbone, parallel, swing, and parabone. (Are you impressed? Don't be, I might have just made that up.) Lots of options. You can get systems that tell you all kinds of information about the individual cow and its milk. Naturally, this can get into lots of money. The trick is figuring out HOW MUCH of the green stuff you have to spend to maximize efficiency effectively and how to persuade someone else to let you use their money to purchase it.

Anyway today we looked at three milking systems. In random order here's a lovely shot of the floor. For the uninitiated most floors housing this many bovines are covered with several inches of...future fertilizer. Look at that floor! You could practically eat off it...well, okay, that might be a stretch. But I walked across it with tenner shoes. That dark line down the center is actually a two/three inch hole where the manure is pushed down by a scraper pulled across it routinely by a motor. Kenton really liked it but is unsure how effective it would be in the winter months when things tend to freeze up. It is worth another look. Like this control gate? (Okay, I'm uncertain about that name.) After you look at the magical machine below, this will make more sense. But, the gate reads the cow's info and if it hasn't been milked it won't let it through the gate. It has to go back and be milked. Pretty fascinating. Welcome to the new century!
We took the munchkins along. They were not nearly as fascinated by the wave of the future. They preferred their own entertainment.

Drum roll, please...

Here it is, the wave of the future

This is so exciting.

Did you know they now have ROBOTS that can milk cows?
Notice, there are no human hands that have washed that lovely udder, put on the milker, took off the milker, dipped the teats. It's amazing!

I want one....NO! two or three.

Of course, now all we need is a fairy godmother with a wand.

Want to see the magic milking robot at work? Watch here.

I ran out of memory. Sorry, but if you're as fascinated by the magic milking robot at I am, Kenton says you can go to you tube and look for clips of the Lely robotic milker.

The cow decides when it's ready to milk and goes to the robot for milking. It can go three or four times a day if it wants(which means more milk and thus, $$) and if it has been too recently milked, the robot kicks it out! Haha! If the cow hasn't come, the computer will report it so the farmer knows to go chase the cow to the robot. There's lots of computer information being spewed out. If there's a problem the computer will call the farmer on his cell phone and report. If your cow acts sick, it reports. If you put medicine in one quarter (cows have four separate teats) it will dump the milk from the medicated quarter and send the other three quarters to the tank. Amazing! Do you think there's special place in heaven for the design team? Say, at the right hand of the Father?

After a second farm with robots we took a look at a BASIC double twelve parabone parlor. No frills. No offense to the farmer, but it was like stepping back a century.

"Calgon, take me away!" could become "Magic robot milkers, float us away!"

The sticker shock helps me realize that a straight jacket might be the natural accompaniment to robot milkers.

I need a new theme song. How about Old McHolly had a Robot... or She'll be Milking 'Round the Robot When She Comes... or Oh, When the Robots Come Milking In...or, Have a Holly-Jolly Milking...Wow! The options are limitless. Do you think they'd give us a significant discount if I offer to design their advertising campaign?


  1. Wow! Is that really Kenton pretending to be Holly writing that?? This is the most excited (actually the only excited) I've ever seen you about anything related to farming......except maybe high corn prices and new farmhouse kitchens....

  2. It was really amazing! Parlors just mean a different style from what we currently do. Robots mean LESS LABOR INTENSIVE. I'm all for it. How about "All I Want For Christmas is a Robot Milker"? Okay, that doesn't really work, does it? Besides it isn't really true. What I really want for Christmas is another little one...but three robot milkers MIGHT be second on my list. :P