Agriculture, which is described as “humankind’s oldest and still most important economic activity,” is getting a boost from robots.
Farms all over the world are slowly incorporating robots into their operations. In fact, Spread — a Japanese firm specializing in vegetable production — is setting up what would be the world’s first robot-run farm inside its vast indoor facility in Kameoka, which is located in the Kyoto Prefecture.
Spread disclosed to The Guardian that it will have robots do everything from re-planting young seedlings and caring for the plants to harvesting crops. They robot farm is expected to be fully operational by mid-2017.
In Canada, the use of robots is popular among dairy farmers. The Current — a show aired by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) — discussed the robotic milking machines that Rick Shantz and his family use on their Ontario property, Rickeen Farms.
With the milking machines around, the cows practically milk themselves.
Rickeen Farms has a herd of 70 milking cows and two robotic milking machines. Once the cow gets into position, the robotic arm moves in under its udder. It cleans each teat before attaching four milking cups. These cups are connected to hoses that transfer the extracted milk into a big tank.
The milking takes about six minutes on average for each cow. The milking machine is able to identify each cow it is milking thanks to the unique electronic collar that each animal wears. Thus, the milking machine knows exactly how much milk each cow has already given that day. The robot can also be synced to the farm owner’s smartphone. This feature allows the machine to provide updates on production, as well as alerts, via text messages.
The best part? Thanks to the robotic milking machines, cows allegedly appeared to be “less stressed” and even “happier” about the milking process.