Anyhow, last week I was having such an hour and I ran into an old IMAG report. This report marks, in my opinion the start of the automatic milking era in the dairy production, so it is worthwhile to give it a little attention in my blog.
IMAG was the institute for Agricultural and Environmental Engineering. It does not exist anymore and most of the work they were doing is now done by Livestock Research of Wageningen UR. With people such as Wim Rossing, IMAG was one of the key players in developments with regard to automation in the dairy sector. One of the developments was the transponder which enabled individual cow management. One of the first developments building on this transponder was the concentrate feeding box. Cows could enter these boxes, were recognized and the concentrates ration was determined by the computer.
|A modern concentrate feeder box|
In 1984, at IMAG a feasibility study was done. In their experimental farm (de Vijf Roeden), a concentrate feeder was made as a 1-side, 1 place milking parlour. Cows could enter the concentrate feeder and if eligible for milking, a student attached and removed the milking cluster. To resemble a real automatic milking situation, students were in the "milking parlour" for 24 hours per day during the total experiment of 11 weeks.
|Setup of the milking in a feeder box experiment|