Cow-Milking Robots Are Here, And The Cows Can Even Choose Where They Want To Be Milked
This might be the end of an era. With the increased demand in cow-milking robots — yes, cow-milking robots — the milk industry could start to move away from relying on farmers. These "milk-bots" not only quickly calculate how much milk they've collected and even the quality of the milk, but they also allow the cows to be milked according to their own individual needs.
First, here's how the milk-bots work: The cows have transponders around their necks, and can measure the amount of milk they have, as well as the number of steps they're taking (which, by the way, can indicate if a cow is in heat). These farms have "milking areas" with the milk-bots and the cows can decide on their own when they want to go there to be milked or not. This one characteristic can completely revolutionizes the dairy industry, because now, farmers don't have to implement their own milking schedule.
When the cows arrive at the milking areas, the milk-bot — which is the size of a closet — washes the cow's underbelly and then scans it using lasers. Then, the robot attaches "mechanical milk cups" to the cow udder, and milks away. The cow, meanwhile, receives a special type of grain to eat.
Here's a Tweet showing a picture of the milk-bot working its magic on a cow.
And here's a video of the milk-bot that The New York Times filmed. About 58 seconds into the video, you can see the robot milking the cow. About 1 minutes and 36 seconds in, you can see the entire milk-bot in its closet-sized glory:
So far, the milk-bots have begun to appear mostly around upstate New York's dairy belt. While they are incredibly expensive — apparently, one farm spent $1.2 million for two milk-bots, about 30 farms have already implemented the milk-bots.