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VOA听力:让机器人给奶牛挤奶

2014-06-17 10:28

来源:VOA

作者:

  新东方英语新闻讯:一家当地的农业报纸最近报道说,第一部机器人挤奶系统的价格是17.5万美元。第二部售价15万美元。Doug Suhr告诉Agri新闻,支付给工人五年的工资就可以购买一台机器人系统了。他说,牛奶产量有了显著提高,每头奶牛每天的产量增加6KG以上。

  MT. AIRY, MARYLAND — At his dairy operation in rural Maryland, John Fendrick has seen the future for milking his cows, and it is robotic.

  Gone are the quaint days of milkmaids, milk stools and the pit-pat of a stream of milk into a tin pail in a bucolic barn setting. At Woodbourne Creamery about an hour outside of Washington, D.C., it is robots doing the work that Fendrick admits he doesn’t care for.

  “I don’t like milking,” he told VOA during a recent tour.

  Fendrick is one of a growing number of dairy operations around the United States, Europe and Australia that are using the latest evolution in milking technology.

  “You’re given your freedom back, essentially," he told VOA. "So it allows me or the people who work for me to do other things on the farm.”

  With the exception of small-scale farmers, dairy operations have long since moved beyond the stool and the pail. Most larger dairies have long used mechanized vacuum pumps to increase yields and cut down on labor costs, but they still required workers to tend the milking process and the machinery.

  With this newest technology, the robot does all the work, finding each cow teat using a laser, then cleaning it, then attaching the milking tube. The robot also checks the milk for contamination and automatically spits out the rejects.

  When the flow of milk slows down, the machine knows to stop and sends the cow on its way.

  The technology isn’t inexpensive. Fendrick has spent more than $150,000 to install the system. He points out, however, that paying someone to milk the cows isn’t cheap, either.

  Dairy cows need to be milked on a regular schedule or else their milk flows slow. Most farmers are tied to a schedule of early morning and late evening milkings, twice a day, every day, rain or shine.

  By contrast, with 50 Guernsey cows, Fendrick, says they can stay out in the pasture until they feel like a milking. Some come in the middle of the night.

  On Woodbourne’s 60 acres of pasture, Fendrick does not even need to be there to watch them. He can watch from his smart phone and find out when each cow milked last and how much she produced.

  “With my phone, I can actually do pretty much everything I normally do up at the dairy,” he said.

  His wife Mary told VOA that the “Voluntary Milking System,” as the operation is called by its makers, DeLaval of Sweden, saves about the equivalent of one to one-and-a-half milkers in labor.

  “In 3 years, I will have paid off the difference with this, and I don’t have to be the person who’s always on call to milk,” he said.

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