NZ-made robotic milking machines

An automated milking system has been developed by Scott Technology and Milktech.

The system, which has been developed in New Zealand over the past seven years, was presented by Scott Milktech Ltd to media and industry at a Rangitata dairy farm yesterday.

While the company had made a conscious effort to maintain a low profile, it was now ”struggling to keep the lid on it” and it decided to disclose what it had been working on, chairman Murray King said.

It had kept its developments out of the public domain as far as possible until it had been confident it could provide a solution.

Mr King stressed it was not a product launch.

Rather, it was a technology update, and there was still work to be done before it was ready to take to the market.

The next stage was to run full production trials in more working dairy sheds, the aim being to start discussions with interested farmers to achieve a managed roll-out and sales of the product during 2013.

The company was working with other parties to commercialise it over the next 12 months, Mr King said. . .

Automated milking machines have been used in Britain and Europe for more than a decade.

We saw one on a farm near Aberdeen 12 years ago and in June this year stayed on a farm in Holland which had a fully automated dairy.

A cow wanders in to the bale when she’s ready to be milked.

robot 2

The computer reads the chip on her collar, if she’s been milked too recently the bale opens and she walks out. If it’s time for milking a brush washes her teats then the cups go on.

robot 1

While she’s being milked she gets her personal portion of feed. When milking’s finished he gate opens and she goes back to the herd.

robot milk

The shed was immaculately clean, the cows in the peak of health and very contented.

The one using the back scratcher was almost smiling:

back scratch

British and European farms are usually much smaller than New Zealand ones but there are a a few here already using fully automated systems.

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3 Responses to NZ-made robotic milking machines

  1. Alwyn says:

    Do you have any figures on the cost of these things and how much labour they save?
    If, for example, they cost $1m, have a working life of 10 years but only save one employee they wouldn’t be a sensible investment.
    If they saved employing four people they presumably would
    (nb I am not a farmer so have no idea on these things)

  2. homepaddock says:

    No, I don’t have figures but the farmer who uses the fully automated system here is a very good operator who wouldn’t do it if the return didn’t justify the cost.

  3. David Ogilvie says:

    The Lely and DeLaval robots that are sold here are around $240K each installed but bear in mind that each unit will milk approx., 90-100 cows per day, or putting it another way 150 cow milkings.

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