Dairies are usually noisy places.
The farmer yells and whistles to get the herd moving, as dogs bark to round up the stragglers. The cows protest, stomping and moo-ing, jostling against railings while the machinery clanks into position.
But the University of Melbourne’s robotic dairy in rural Victoria is calm and quiet. No yelling. No moo-ing. Barely any clanking.
It’s because, according to the dairy’s co-ordinator Kenny Oluboyede, the cows are comfortable.
“When I walk around them I’m not harassing them, I’m just there watching them, so they feel comfortable. In a conventional dairy you have to push the cows in to be milked at a set time when someone is there to do it.
“But here we don’t have to do that because the cows wander in voluntarily to be milked,” he says.
And the cows are surprisingly polite.
Watch them in action:
Video production: Paul Burston/University of Melbourne
Graphics: Sarah Fisher/University of Melbourne
Text: Imogen Crump/University of Melbourne
Banner image: Paul Burston/University of Melbourne