Bill and Trina Kilcer moved to Genoa, NY, in 1992, where they raised their three children and still farm today. Windstott Farm sets on 230 acres and milks 120 cows with the help of two Lely Astronaut robotic milking systems. The Democrat & Chronicle recently wrote an article on the Kilcers, Human-free milking could revolutionize state dairies, outlining the impact robots have had on the operation.
Below is an excerpt from the article:
Bill Kilcer faced a turning point.
The heart of his Genoa dairy farm, the milking parlor, was showing its age and breaking down too often. But it was just as the Great Recession was taking hold, and replacing the milking equipment was not an obviously good investment. He was hearing advice to sell and find some other way to make a living.
"My wife and I, we were in our 50s," Kilcer recalled. "What are we going to do? How are we going to keep going?"
The article goes on to tell of the farm's two Lely robots and the benefits of using the technology:
Robotic milking, though, gets at the heart of the dairy operation and way of life. The machines, once set up and made familiar to the cows, take care of milking 24 hours a day with no human intervention. Cows essentially milk themselves on their own schedules rather than being rounded up two or three times a day. Farmers and their hired help have more time for other chores.
The latest models of the machines can be customized for each animal's milking cycle, alert farmers to signs of illness, and offer detailed reports on each cow's production — reams of data that can make dairying as much about handling information as handling animals.
Additionally, the article covers factors in robotic milking including financing, how they work and the data they provide. Click here to read the full article.