After visiting three dairy farms during the last days, I wanted to look into the actual impact technological advancements like automated milking or feeding had on the actual job of a dairy farmer. I found this paper of the Royal Agriculture Society of England: http://www2.hull.ac.uk/science/PDF/gees_Robotic%20milking%20published%20in%20jnl%20of%20RASE.pdf.
“Having a robotic milking system did change all the interviewees’ lifestyles; although it did not seem to lessen the workload ‘it was not a case of less work, it’s just different’. Some found that the AMS was actually more of a tie than they had envisioned.”.
It seems like the technological advancements, while maybe easing dairy farmer’s daily tasks, do not necessarily reduce the overall workload, as they have to cope with the “additional demands” of their automated systems, such as servicing of the machines.
While the machines claim that they can assess cows’ behaviours to the last detail, farmers complain about the massive amount of data they now have to analyze.
Ultimately, automated milking systems just allow the farmers to organise their workload around other tasks than milking – maybe therefore allowing them to expand their farms (which, considering the “My Pace” philosophy is a questionable thing to do) – but definitely don’t reduce the overall workload of dairy farmers.