The kids were all home last weekend for a Saturday afternoon wedding. Earlier that day, our neighbor was having an open house (or open barn) at their barn. They had just updated their barn and milking system adding robotic milking machines. We all decided to stop by and check it out.
The barns were amazing. It was a hot day but inside they were cool and comfortable.
The barns were all clean and not smelly. When I was grown up and we were milking cows, summers in the barn were hot, stinky and sweaty….not here.
Kelli was wanting to kiss a cow apparently.
The robotic milking machines were installed a couple months ago. Right now, to get the cows adjusted, not all of the cows are being milked by the robotic milkers. It’s a hard transition. Some cows are slow to learn. Some have special circumstances…and above all that, each robotic milker can only milk 60 cows a day. Each robotic milker costs $250,000.
Can you believe the costs?! Our neighbors are making the expansion for several reasons, it is easier on the cows. Cows can come and be milked up to six times a day. They just get in line whenever they want and get milked. There is a tag on their collar that allows the computer to read the cow’s information.
Our neighbors have children who are wanting to enter into dairy farming with them. If more kids are coming back to college to farm, more income needs to be generated….in this case, more cows need to be milked.
Health reasons also played into consideration….if you live in farm country, you can spot farmers who milk cows. Their knees are bad. Even farmers who milk in parlors seem to have bad knees from standing on the cement so much.
We got a quick sneak peak at the milkers but not enough for me to get a picture. It was a small space and the line was long to get to see…so sorry readers. No picture of the actual milkers.
I wasn’t going to make a blog post about this as I didn’t get the picture of the actual milkers but then I decided to write about it anyway….I think it’s good that people see what farming is really like. So many people knock modern day farming as being industrial and factory to the animals. It’s not way with the steers on the farm or with the dairy down the road. Modern equipment has allow farmers to specialize and really get to know the breed of animals that they are working with. People get frustrated thinking that farming is a factory…it’s really not that way. Farmers now specialize and get the very best equipment available to keep the animals comfortable and to bring money back to the business. It really isn’t any different than a doctor specializing in a particular field.
All in all, it was interesting and fun. Part of me will always miss milking cows…then the other part of me will remind myself that it’s SO, SO much work!