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A look inside the region's largest robotic dairy farm

"In order to be here we have to do things that allow us to be here. We hope every decision we make every day is leading us to be sustainable." (KBOI Staff Photo)

"I'm the third generation that's been on this farm. My kids are the fourth generation," says manager of Dairylain Farms Jason Chamberlain.

"In order to be here we have to do things that allow us to be here. We hope every decision we make every day is leading us to be sustainable."

Jason Chamberlain of Dairylain Farms tells me his family has been in the dairy business since 1971.

And now, 50 years later, it's one of the first in the region to run a full automated dairy and it all begins with you guessed it, milking.

"With the robotic system you train the cow to come to the robot, and the cow comes in and enters the robot," says Chamberlain. "The robot uses a table essentially to see if the cow can be milked or not, based on her last milking and how much milk she gives, and if she can't be milked she passes through the robot and if she can be milked it will start to give her some grain in the robot."

This room contains three of Dairylain's six robotic milking systems.

These robots contain 3-D cameras, infrared technology, a memory bank, which knows the cows last 30 milkings, and even lasers to determine the composition of the cows udders.

And the entire system is ran by collars, worn by each and every Dairylain cow.

"Not only does the collar identify the cow to the robot but it measures the cows activity just like a pedometer would," Chamberlain says. "It also has a microphone in it that will measure the cows rumination so when she's eating and if she's laying down chewing her cud and it uses all that information to track a cows health."

Knowing when a heifer becomes sick, before even showing signs.

And that's not all! This technology also helps during breeding season.

"Now we can do it off the activity system and its a lot more accurate and a lot more cow friendly," says Chamberlain. "And the whole system gives us a lot more flexibility about how we do things and when we do them."

Robots also help with feeding, this robot skirts along the pens, distributing and pushing feed toward the cows.

But Jason says his dairy's sustainability goes even beyond robots.

From raising all of their cows from infancy, to growing their cows feed on site.

"Ultimately sustainability is something that we think about every day because we want this to be here for more generations to come," Chamberlain says.


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