Soon, robots to milk cows in farms!

The robot has been developed by DeLaval in collaboration with the University of Sydney and Australia's FutureDairy project.

Chairperson of FutureDairy, Shirley Harlock, said the robotic rotary was a major step towards addressing two of the key challenges facing the industry -- the availability of labour and the lifestyle associated with dairying.

"This is one of the most exciting developments that has occurred in the 40 years I've been dairy farming. Although it won't suit all dairy farmers, the robotic rotary offers considerable benefits in terms of enabling more flexible working conditions and improved lifestyle," Harlock said.

While automatic milking systems have been widely adopted overseas, their application on Australian farms has been slower, mainly because the technology was developed for European herds which are smaller, and housed indoors for most of the year, say the scientists.

FutureDairy research has proven that automatic milking systems can operate effectively in Australia's pasture-based system, achieving both high pasture utilisation and acceptable AMS unit utilisation.

However the available technology was best suited to herds of less than 300, due to capacity (number of cows that can be milked by each unit in a 24-hour period) and cost. The robotic rotary offers a better solution for larger Australian dairy herds.
A limited commercial release is planned for 2011 under the brand name DeLaval AMR (automatic milking rotary).

The next step in Australia will be the installation of robotic rotaries on two commercial farms in 2011. These installations will be closely monitored and supported by DeLaval and the FutureDairy team

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