Thursday, November 13, 2008

Milking Cows

Who knew milking cows was so high tech? Seriously people...Mr. Tall was watching the show How Things Work, or something called something like that. showed how horizontal blinds are made (snooze) and then came the dairy part which was fascinating.

So there is this completely hi-tech dairy. It described how basically a happy cow equals better milk. So the cows were not on any milking schedule, but got to choose when to go be milked. This is where it gets really good. The cow makes her way to the milking pen where her identity is detected by the collar she wears and a laser guided teat cleaner washes her teats. Next a laser guided suction cupped teat holder begins to connect to each (sparklingly clean) teat, adjusting for the right fit. After that the milking begins. The machine detects if there are any impurities in the milk. If so, the milk is dumped. The machine also detects when to stop milking so as to not go too long and hurt the cow.

Mr. Tall and I were dying on the couch. Way too funny. Who knew the cows had it so good? Something else I didn't know, but should have just realized is that the cows only have milk for ten months after having a calf. The sad part is that they keep the poor cows pregnant, let them give birth, allow the calf to suckle for a week or so and then take the mother's milk for the next ten months. The cycle continues.

So what do you think? I don't really want to drink milk anymore. It just seems mean.

Here is some info from Engadget:
Swedish company DeLaval specializes in "cow comfort" products including the Voluntary Milking System. You see, a cozy independent cow is a happy cow and that makes for an increase in milk yield, dig? The VMS is powered by embedded Linux 2.4.18 running on an AMD Geode GX1 200MHz processor — a single system can milk a herd of 60 cows three times a day. This gives farmers more time to kick back, relax and presumably drunk-milk their friends and pets. When the cow feels the need, she enters the stall where a laser and photo-sensor guided robotic arm searches for, cleans, and then milks each of the four teats. Milk flow, quantity and time is monitored and compared to historical data as early indicators of illness or injury. Be sure to check out the vids for plenty of hot lactating bovine action.