UK farmers are milking the latest technology with an automated dairy system that lets cows decide on their own milking schedules, The Times reported today.
The techno-milking system, developed in Holland by UK scientists, springs into life when the cows make their own way into the specially designed automatic milking stalls.
The cows are trained to enter these stalls with inducements including a device which brushes their hair.
After the animals are in place they are scanned by a computer which determines the identity, history and health of the animal by reading data stored in implanted microchips.
Milking is carried out by robotic machines, which are able to find the animals' udders using a combination of lasers and ultrasound.
The system requires little to no supervision, thus freeing farmers from the traditional requirement of having to monitor the herd and bring them in for milking.
It is also claimed that the technology, which is already at work in several farms across the UK, is less stressful to the cows.
However, Joyce D'Silva, director of Compassion in World Farming, expressed concerns that the technical innovation will lead to an increase in factory farming.
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