Mooving to the robotic world of milking cows

A robotic milking parlour is attracting plenty of attention in north Bucks.

The five cow unit works 24 hours a day milking the herd at Wood Green Farm in Shalstone.

Ena Pullin in the robotic milking parlour at the family farm in Shalstone PNL-140630-120712001

Ena Pullin in the robotic milking parlour at the family farm in Shalstone PNL-140630-120712001

And on Friday evening last week, almost 100 people visited with Buckingham National Farmers Union (NFU) to see it in operation.

Clive Pullin started operating the unit in November and sinc e then he has hosted many visitors, but never so many in one go.

He said: “We have really good staff here but a lot of them are heading towards their 50s and my mother said it was too much to expect middle aged men to be milking 14 hours a day. So we started looking at installing the robotic system.”

Mr Pullin, who farms over 2,000 acres, invested more than £1 million to install the robotic parlour together with a shed, new silage clamp, slurry scrapes, solar panels and a slurry lagoon. Part of the financial deal with the company who supplied the parlour included hosting visitors to see it in action, and Mr Pullin has welcomed more than 200 people from Poland, Greenland and Ireland.

The cows wear digital electronic readers and can be milked up to four times a day as they choose when to go into the parlour. Each of the cows had to be manually set up so the robot can remember their individual udders and the position of their teats. If there is a problem Mr Pullin receives a text from the robot.

His mother Ena Pullin remembers a time when she milked cows by hand. She said: “This is amazing and so much better because it’s not so much work. It’s also better for the cows, they can come in when they like. They don’t have to stand around with full udders waiting for milking, they just come straight through.”

Graham Hall, Buckingham NFU agent, said: “The turnout was excellent, it is quite exciting to have something like this on our patch.”