21st July 2023
A group of us visited Addingrove Farm to see their new robotic milking parlour. We arrived at Chilton and were taken down to the farm on the back of a couple of tractors and trailers. On route we drove through a “closed” road, where Thames Water was endeavouring to fix a leak. At the farm, we were divided into two groups to look at the milking parlour.
The barn has room for 200 cows, plus a few more dry ones. Normally they are able to go in and out of the barn and graze the fields, as they wish We were told that many of the cows preferred to stay inside, and when it rained there was a stampede for cover. The barn had feed on both sides. In the centre were the cows water beds where they could lie in comfort. The cows were on slats which robots patrolled, scraping the excrement through the slats into a special processing system down underneath.
There were four milking cubicles, and the cows would enter these of their own accord and be automatically milked. They could be milked up to four times a day. If they entered the milking parlour again, they were not fed, and were ejected. Those cows who chose not to be miked in 24 hours could be identified on the computer screen and action taken to persuade them to be milked.
In the evening, the lights are dimmed to a red glow.
It all seemed to work smoothly, we saw cows entering and being milked, and others, who were trying it on, being ejected.
After the visit we were transported back to Chilton, where we bought beers from the Chiltern Brewery and BBQed burgers from the local butcher. They were excellent burgers, and I did go in for a second round. The money raised went to the church
Following the burgers, we finished the evening at George’s drinking Scotch. As we left at 10.10 I spotted a bright moving light in the sky. I later checked. It was the International Space Station.