Data science

Robotic Milking: A Process that is Advancing the Dairy Farms

Robotic milking is a process that helps dairy farmers to advance their dairy farms with robotic.
Robotic milking is the process of milking dairy animals, particularly dairy cattle, without the need for human labor. Automatic milking is another name for this robotic milking procedure. The automatic milking system (AMS) was created in the late 20th century. Since the early 1990s, it has been commercially accessible. A sort of agricultural robot is at the heart of such systems that allow total automation of the milking process. Computers and specific herd management software are used in most systems. It was also used to keep track of the health of cows.

The milking process is a set of activities dedicated to obtaining milk from an animal (rather than the broader field of dairy animal husbandry). Collection of animals before milking, routing of animals into the parlor, inspection, and cleaning of teats, attachment of milking equipment to teats, and often massaging the back of the udder to relieve any held back to milk, extraction of milk, removal of milking equipment, and routing of animals out of the parlor are some of the sub-tasks. Much of the milking process was automated in the twentieth century to reduce labor costs: many farmers use semi-automatic or automatic cow traffic control (powered gates, etc.), the milking machine (a basic form that was developed in the late nineteenth century) has completely automated milk extraction, and automatic cluster removal is available to remove milking equipment after milking. Cleaning and inspecting teats, as well as attaching milking equipment (milking cups) to teats, were the final manual labor duties in the milking process. Cleaning and attaching milking cups automatically are a difficult operation that necessitates precise teat position recognition and a dexterous mechanical manipulator.

Rather than being milked as part of a group at predetermined milking times, automatic milking allows the cow to choose her own milking time and interval. Because the cow can choose to be milked at any moment within 24 hours, robotic milking necessitates total automation of the milking process. A milking machine, a teat position sensor (typically a laser), a robotic arm for automated teat-cup application and removal, and a gate system for managing cow traffic make up the milking unit. The cows may be permanently kept in a barn and spend the majority of their time in the free-stall area resting or eating. Some robotic milking Systems manufacturers recommend utilizing a selection gate to let just those cows who have been milked to the outer pastures if cows are to be grazed as well.

An automatic milking system has a typical capacity of 50–70 cows per milking unit. A single milking unit handling 60 cows and milking each cow three times per day has a capacity of 7.5 cows per hour. Automatic milking systems usually achieve milking frequencies between 2 and 3 times per day, so a single milking unit handling 60 cows and milking each cow three times per day has a capacity of 7.5 cows per hour. Because a window of several minutes is available for each cow and high-speed operation is not necessary, this low capacity allows for a lower-cost design of the robotic arm and related control system. Since the early 1990s, robotic milking system devices have been commercially accessible and have shown to be rather successful in adopting the voluntary milking technique. The Netherlands has done a lot of research and development. The Netherlands and Denmark have the most automatic milking system-affected farms. In Canada, a mobile version of robotic milking that has been adapted to tie-stall configurations (stanchion barns) is employed. The automatic milking system walks along the center aisle of the barn, approaching cows from behind and milking them in their stalls.

 

Advantages of Robotic Milking:
Labor is no longer required:

The farmer is freed from the milking process and its accompanying strict schedule, and his time is better spent overseeing the animals, feeding them, and so forth.

Increasing frequency of milking:

Milking can be done up to three times per day, however most people only milk 2.5 times per day. Because less milk is stored on average, this may result in reduced tension on the udder and improved comfort for the cow. Milk output per cow increases with more frequent milking, however much of this increase is made up of water rather than solids.

Consistency of milking:

The milking method is the same for every cow and every visit, and it is unaffected by the fact that the cows are milked by various people. Because the four milking cups are removed separately, an empty quarter does not remain connected while the other three are completing, reducing the risk of harm.

Management of the herd:

The usage of computer control provides for more data collecting options. Such information helps the farmer to enhance herd management by analyzing patterns in the herd, such as the reaction of milk output to feedstuff changes. Individual cow histories may be checked, and alarms can be set to notify the farmer if any odd changes could indicate disease or injury. Information collecting adds value to the automatic milking system, but accurate interpretation and application of that data are heavily reliant on the user’s abilities or the accuracy of computer algorithms used to generate attendance reports.

 

Disadvantages of robotic milking:
Higher Price:

In 2019, the worldwide milking robots market was worth US$1562.6 million. The market will be worth US$3126.9 million by the end of 2027, with a CAGR of 10.3% from 2021 to 2027.

Increasing Electricity Cost:

To run the robots, electricity is much needed.

Complexity has increased:

While technical development necessitates increased equipment complexity, the additional complexity of the automatic milking system’s milking unit over conventional systems increases dependency on manufacturer maintenance services, potentially raising operational costs.

Milk of a lower quality:

The quantity of anaerobic spores increases, the freezing point increases, and the incidence of milk quality failure nearly double with automatic milking, which accurately represents the quality of milk caused by automatic milking. Even though the automatic milking machine cleans the cow’s teat and tests the pre-squeezed milk, there is still a problem with contaminated milk not being transmitted, as well as the equipment itself being dirty and the milk not being handled correctly.

Contact between the farmer and the herd has reduced:

Automatic milking reduces the amount of time the farmer is in direct touch with the animal, increasing the risk of sickness being undiscovered for long periods, affecting both milk quality and cow welfare.

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