Friday, October 12, 2012

It's All Coming Together: The $210,000 Cow Miking Robot (can the dream of plowborgs be far behind?)

We got us our own little singularity, right here at Climateer Investing.
Robotics, agriculture and energy.

Having looked at the melding of terrestrial agriculture and robots on the most basic levels, GPS guided harvesters and Monsanto's genetically engineered 'Frankenfarmers':

Boise, ID GM plowborg Jed Kleebert.

We moved on to the aquatic world with "Sea Robots Farm Algae for Fuel", combining robotics and energy carriers and now we circle back to the land-based stuff.

From BusinessWeek:

A cow exits the Lely Astronaut A4 milking machine
Photograph by Lely
A cow exits the Lely Astronaut A4 milking machine
Let’s presume for a moment that you aren’t someone who thinks a great deal about dairy farming. Like me, for example. You (or I) may think you have this idea about what it means to milk a cow. For me, it was always something akin to what Harrison Ford did in Witness—wake up at o-dark-thirty, sit on a stool, and work a cow’s teat until you filled a bucket with milk.

Of course, Witness came out 27 years ago. More important, those guys in the movie were Amish. Not really the early-adopter type. Things are a little more high-tech out there among them English.
Or as it turns out, a lot more high-tech. I’ve spent the last two days at the World Dairy Expo in Madison, Wis., checking out the state of the art in dairy technology. The expo’s a good place to do this, as it’s the largest dairy trade show in the world—with more than 65,000 attendees from 90 different countries, and upwards of 2,500 cows that will be judged in competition or sold at auction.

One of the most impressive things I’ve seen at the expo has been Lely’s Astronaut A4, the Dutch company’s latest-generation robotic milking machine. I am not being sarcastic or snarky when I tell you that it is completely fascinating.

For starters, the A4 does not require a human being at any point in the milking process, leaving farmers free to cook dinner, work the books, or play Parcheesi. That’s because no one has to move a cow into the milking box. The animal goes there on its own because it knows there is feed there (the cows are fed traditionally, but the A4 contains higher-protein food, and cows are really good at knowing what they’re eating and, more important, what they want to eat). The front of the box has a trough where a cow can eat a measured amount of grain while it’s being milked....MORE
HT: Mike Shedlock

For more bovine tech see:

Gary Larson