WALLAND — The University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture will host a demonstration of its new robotic milking technology at the UT AgResearch and Education Center’s Little River Unit in Blount County. The new system, developed by the Lely Corporation in the Netherlands, allows for the cows to be automatically milked at their own will in a stress-free environment. The demonstration is set for 10 a.m. May 2 and will include remarks from prominent university and community leaders.
The cows are trained to walk up to the robotic system, where each animal will be recognized by a sensor on its collar. The system then knows how much feed to give the cow while she’s being milked, based on historical data. The cow is free to eat, drink and rest while being milked, and in an area where there’s less cattle traffic. About 120 dairy cows can be milked and individual records kept through two robotic systems in a relatively short amount of time.
“The mission of UT AgResearch is to conduct leading-edge projects to serve the evolving needs of the agriculture and forestry industry in Tennessee and beyond,” said Hongwei Xin, dean of UT AgResearch.
“The introduction of milking robots into our existing traditional dairy production system at the Little River dairy facility allows our researchers to find answers to questions ranging from interactions between the animals and robots, impact on the animal’s production performance, and labor savings and profitability. The robotic milking system is part of the UT Precision Livestock Farming (PLF) initiative that aims to improve production efficiency and food supply chain robustness through enhanced animal welfare. UTIA is poised to be the leader in PLF in the region, the nation and the world.”
— University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture