Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Robots at Swisslane Farms

Today with his free time, Kris went to help out at ... another farm!

Our friends, Annie and Jerry Link, just installed eight robot milkers to milk 500 cows.  Today was the first day they started milking them in it.  Their friends, relatives, other farmers with robots, Lely people, people from MSU's robotic dairy (and I'm sure others) all helped. 

Kris was running a robot for part of it and said that a few cows were hesitant, but mostly when they saw the feed pellets they'd go right in.  The first time a cow enters a robot someone has to manually position the laser to see where the udder is.  After that first time, the robot has a record of it, and knows.  The lasers go every time, since udders change depending on how much milk they're giving, how recently they had a calf, etc. but it has a benchmark.

We're happy for our friends and their new adventure! 


Back on our farm ... it's snowing.  Hard, wet snow.  Probably all the schools are going to be cancelled and the roads are bad.  That kind of snow.  Both beautiful and inconvenient.

Naturally, Kris said that the heifers decided that they didn't want to be in the pasture they were in, and they broke a fence and went to a different one.  They weren't out, just not where they were supposed to be, so he said he wasn't going to bother about it when it was pitch black and snowing.

Meanwhile, our kids went outside and played in the snow, until after their bedtime.  Their clothes won't even have a chance to dry before morning.  Kris' will though ... we have the state annual Farm Bureau meeting tomorrow.  It's snowed every single year I've gone to this.  It's the most reliable snowfall I've ever experienced.  It's okay.  Probably all these farmers driving to the meeting have four-wheel drive anyway. 

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