Chelsea Green Publishing

Chelsea Green Blog

Gene Logsdon: Robot Farmers

One hundred percent fully automated robotic milking machines? Have we entered utopia? In a word: no. In three words: no, God, no. Gene Logsdon explains why these robot pals may not be all they’re cracked up to be in this post from The Contrary Farmer blog.

I’ve milked heaven knows how many cows over nearly a lifetime and never in a million years could I ever have predicted what is happening now. I won’t believe it until I see it with my own eyes, but the dairy industry claims that it now has robotic milking units that milk the cows without any human intervention at all. Mrs. Cow is trained to saunter into a “robotic” milking stall on a giant turntable when she has the urge to be milked, eats her grain nonchalantly while electronic sensors wash her udders, attach the milkers, empty her bag, and detach the milkers. Other electronic sensors monitor her health while she is milking herself. I suppose her cholesterol and blood pressure could be checked too. This would probably be a good time for a glowing reporter from the Happy Factory Society to interview her about how wonderful are giant, consolidated, animal confinement systems these days. She might have something interesting to say about health care, since hers is subsidized almost as completely as that of our Senators. Then she wanders out of her stall and lolls beside the manure lagoon on her robotic spa until she feels the urge to be milked again.

I have to conclude that today’s Mrs. Cow, while probably giving more milk than my Betsy in the days of yore, is not nearly as smart. Betsy would have learned how to beat the Happy Factory system in about four days and started frequenting the “robotic” stall every twenty minutes to get more grain which she loved dearly. In six months of robotic milking, she would have gained 500 pounds. Five thousand of her ilk would have bankrupted the Happy Factory and sent the price of corn soaring even higher than the romantic dreams of robotic farming.

Read the whole article here.


Related Articles:

We are Farmily: Everyday Life on Sole Food Street Farm

Food is the medium. The message is nourishment in its most elemental and spiritual form.That’s how author Michael Ableman sees the role of Sole Food Street Farm and the food it sells to markets, restaurants, and individuals.In the following excerpt from his new book, Street Farm: Growing Food, Jobs, and Hope on the Urban Frontier, […] Read More

Who Produces More Eggs: Ducks or Chickens?

During our monthlong focus on homesteading in September, we received a number of great questions with several of them centered on … ducks and chickens.Here is one such question that came in via Facebook:“I have read that ducks produce more eggs over a longer lifetime of productivity than chickens, but recently talked with a farmer […] Read More

From Farm-to-Table to Farm-to-Everything

No longer restricted to the elite segments of society, the farm-to-table movement now reaches a wide spectrum of Americans from hospital and office cafeterias to elementary schools and fast-casual restaurants.Nearly a century ago, the idea of “local food” would have seemed perplexing, since virtually all food was local. Today, most of the food consumed in […] Read More

The Three Cs of Farm-to-School

Most people know about the three “R’s” – reading, writing, and arithmetic. But, have you heard about the three “C’s”?If you, or your kid, is at a school that takes part in the Farm-to-School movement, then you may already know about them.October is National Farm-to-School month, and in their book Farm to Table, authors Darryl […] Read More

Homesteading: Highlighting Our Need For Each Other

Homesteading isn’t meant to be a solitary adventure, or done in isolation.Building and living on the independent farmstead takes at least one partner, if not several. That’s the advice of authors Shawn and Beth Dougherty. In their book The Independent Farmstead, The Sow’s Ear model for regenerating the land and growing food covers everything from […] Read More
Follow us
Get every new post delivered to your inbox
Join millions of other followers
Powered By