Robots milk cows in Taiwan, get six liters more per day

Did you know that robots are now milking dairy cows in Taiwan? That’s right. We learned this from Dr. Synan Baguio who previously visited a dairy farm with 100 cows that are being milked by robots five times a day and night, seven days a week.

Dr. Baguio is the OIC of the Livestock Research Division of PCAARRD, the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development based in Los Baños. It is an agency of the Department of Science and Technology.

He said that ordinarily, dairy cows are milked in the morning and then late in the afternoon. In the dairy farm that he visited, Dr. Baguio said that robots are doing the milking and the cows are milked five times a day (including night), seven days a week. The result? Instead of each cow yielding only 22 liters a day, an additional 6 liters is collected.

Why the increase in milk collected? Dr. Baguio explained that the cow stops producing milk when its udder is already full. Once the milk is withdrawn, it starts filling the empty udder again. The cows are milked five times because every time the udder is full, the cows go to the milking parlor to unload their milk.

In the Taiwan dairy farm, the cows were trained to go to the milking parlor every time the udder is full. Upon reaching the parlor, it gets its feed while the robot washes and dries the udder, and then draws the milk. The milk is untouched by human hand because it goes direct to the milk tank ready for delivery wherever it will be processed. After milking, the udder is washed and dried by hot air once more.

Dr. Baguio said that in 2007, he attended a seminar in Taiwan on Technology Foresight where robots were discussed for the purpose of taking care of the elderly. The technology is now applied in agriculture such as in milking dairy cows.

For more information, visit PCAARRD.

This appeared in Agriculture Monthly’s February 2019 issue. 

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