A farm on P.E.I. is bringing high-tech efficiency to their traditional dairy business.
The Willscott Dairy Farm in Freetown, P.E.I. unveiled their robot barn this weekend.
The barn is outfitted with a fully automated milking system that directs cows, ready to be milked, to the machine and milks them — all without a single person in the barn.
The cows lineup for feed, then a special sensor detects whether they need to be milked. If they’re ready for milking, the cows are led into a special pen where a robotic arm cleans the cow’s udder.
Once clean, a laser-guided sensor determines the shape and location of the cow’s teats, suctions on, and collects the milk.
Jeff Trainor, who runs Island Dairy Services, aid the automated milking system will mean the cows are milked when they're ready, about three times a day. He said most farmers milk twice a day. He said that the technology saves a lot of time and money.
"They don't have to be there at certain times of the day, so that's the biggest one," he said.
"I think it allows them to harvest more milk with less cows. You're milking the cows, instead of twice a day, two and a half to three times a day."
Trainor said robots may be a way of allowing more young people to stay in the farming business.
The technology gives them time to be away from the farm and perhaps allows them some time to sleep in, giving them a lifestyle more similar to their counterparts who work in offices, said Trainor.
The Willscott Dairy Farm is now the third P.E.I. farm to use the robotic milking technology.
The setup also allows farmers to track how the robotic barn is working, using a computer or smartphone.