New South Wales Minister for Agriculture Ian Macdonald,
said: "The technology represents a
more natural milking system, where cows are milked when they
want to be, and farmers are not tied down to the strict
routines previously associated with dairy production."
Macdonald's department is one of several partners in the
project, which also includes the University of Sydney, the
dairy industry trade group Dairy Australia, and
milking-machine manufacturer DeLaval. The program is seen as a
way of ensuring the long-term viability of the state's 1,050
farms, which are worth about (U.S.) $290 million to the
economy. "This type of collaboration
is essential to ensure the dairy industry is getting the best
on offer in terms of new research and innovative methods in
order to stay competitive and sustainable,"
The FutureDairy project is also testing how well specially
equipped all terrain vehicles (ATVs) can monitor available
forage in pastures. "It's hard to
measure how much is there. A farm is so big, just walking
around it is hard work," Fulkerson said.
Four-wheeled ATVs adapted for
Australian pastures in collaboration with New Zealand company
C-DAX will take the work out of the walk. Sensors attached to
the vehicles could monitor how much feed grows in each area of