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David Sparks Ph.d Dairy Mechanization
by David Sparks Ph.d, click here for bio

Program: Line on Agriculture
Date: September 11, 2019

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More than 1,000 dairy cows were moved out of Heglar Creek Dairy's conventional barn and into a new robotic milking barn where they sleep on waterbeds. With a voluntary robotic milking system, the Holsteins will decide when to relax, eat or be milked by one of 18 robots.

"The biggest benefit for the cows is taking the human element out of the dairy," said Todd Webb, co-owner of the dairy. "It reduces stress for them."

At Heber Loughmiller's Hillside Dairy milk barn, in Elba, Idaho, cows have become best friends with robots. The 110 head organic dairy is one of the first in Idaho to install a robotic milking system, and it is changing life on the dairy farm.

Melinda Wolf with Dairy West says she is seeing more and more interest in robotics across Idaho and Utah.

It does come up a lot. I think there's a lot of interest in the field. I think that it varies from the different size of operation. I tend to see more robotic farms on smaller operations where there might be two to five hundred cows or less than a thousand cows. But the interest is there. And I think especially as Labor challenged the labor challenges, we continue to be an issue. I think more you'll see more and more robotic farms coming into play.

Idaho ranks third in the nation in milk production

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