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Robotic Milking Not Far Away
"We expect to be on the market in two years," says the German manufacturer of a cow-milking robot which made its debut at the 1989 DLG show in Frankfurt. Firms in England and Holland are also front runners in the race to perfect robotic milking.
Until recently, one of the major unsolved problems was getting the robot to automatically affix teat cups. "We've solved the problem with sensors that steer the robot's arm to the teats and, without human assistance, slip cups onto the teats one at a time, starting with the back row," explains Dr. Mattias Duck, researcher-consultant for Duvelsdorf and Sohn. "After affixing the four cups, the robot moves on to affix cups on the next cow. Because it doesn't wait for the cow to milk out, one robot will be able to handle 140 to 160 cows."
Dr. Duck doesn't foresee robotic milking opening the gate to large-scale development of huge corporate dairy farms. "I think it will strengthen the family-farm concept of dairying. Family members will be free from the drudgery of having to be there twice a day to do the milking. With robotic milking, cows will voluntarily leave their stalls four to six times a day and go to the milking parlor, unattended by human labor. We anticipate that robotic milking will increase milk production of typical family farm herds at least 15%."
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Duvelsdorf & Sohn, Gmbh & Co. KG, D-2802 Ottersberg-Posthausen, Germany (ph 042 97766).

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1990 - Volume #14, Issue #1