From: John De Armond
Subject: Re: Farming (was Quitting Fulltiming Cold Turkey)
Date: Thu, 11 Jan 2001 01:16:10 -0500
> So far, this thread has been very friendly and I do not want to change
> the tide. Having said that, I will have to add a few things to what
> George said.
> We had family in the dairy business. It is very difficult to convince
> the herd to hold on to their milk for two weeks because the family is
> going on vacation. As a matter of fact, it's difficult to tell them to
> hold on for the week-end. They have a nasty habit of requiring milking
> everyday. They also need to be fed and watered daily but there are
> systems available to assist in this department, similarly with the
> cleaning of the manure. It only takes plenty of money to afford these
> In the situation of my cousin, when he wanted to retire, his three
> children wanted nothing to do with the operation. Neither did anyone
> else for that matter, at least anyone with the necessary capital. He was
> forced to sell off the herd to different operators. He disassembled and
> sold or more correctly, gave away all the other equipment. The barn
> sits empty.
> There are few people to-day that willing to put in the work required to
> get rich by running a dairy.
Funny this would come up right now. I just happened to get a tour
of the future a couple of days ago. One of my customers owns a 600
head dairy farm. He's just installed a state-of-the-art fully
automated milking parlor. He asked me out for a tour (think he
wants me to keep it running for him :-) This thing is amazing.
Here's what I saw during my nickel tour.
Each cow is tagged with an injected electronic tag in her ear.
They're trained via feeding to come to a chute twice a day. The
chute meters them, one at a time, onto a rotating multi-stall
milking parlor. The tag is read automatically as the cow enters a
stall and the computer looks up the cow's particulars. The teat
cups are on little servo arms and part of the cow's profile is how
to mount them automatically. As the platform slowly rotates
lazy-susan style through about 270 degrees, the cow is milked and
then released. The yield is recorded, of course. At the end of
each milking period, a printout is generated alerting which cows
didn't show up. All the equipment is CIP, of course. Assuming all
the cows show up on time, it is a totally hands-off operation and
normally there is only a single person in the parlor to monitor
things - probably he'll go away after they gain confidence in the
I could get into this kind of farming. He contracts out his
husbandry so until something goes wrong, all he has to do is count