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June 10, 2013 06:00 PM

Robots Invade Dairy Farm

ethan, sd

Robots are invading farms all over America, including a dairy farm near Ethan. But the dairy farmers couldn't be happier.

A machine, called an astronaut, is just like a robot. Gary and Amy Blaze use four of them to milk their 200 head of dairy cows three times a day. The robots use laser scanning technology to line up the milkers on the cows' utters. 

The Blaze's decided to buy the robot milkers mainly because hired help wasn't reliable.

"You tell a robot to do something and it does it exactly what you told it to do every single time," Gary said.

"We would get calls at 4:30 a.m. or so saying they couldn't be here today or do you really need us today," Amy said.

Each cow wears a tag with a computer chip, allowing the robot to identify each one by a number. A computer in the robot registers all kinds of information on each cow, like body temperature, weight and milk production.

"We can learn so much from the robots to manage our cows, in the long run it's really going to help," Amy said.

Now that the robots do all the milking, Gary and Amy are free to leave the farm.

"Last night, Amy and I went, we stayed in Sioux Falls last night, we never could have done that before," Gary said.

"It's a more enjoyable lifestyle for us, we don't set an alarm clock anymore, so that tells you something," Amy said.

If the robots malfunction for any reason or something odd happens to them,  the system automatically calls the owners' cell phone; notifying them there's a problem.

  • Agriculture
  • Livestock
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