https://www.proz.com/kudoz/english/livestock-animal-husbandry/6556477-herding-cows-into-and-out-of-the-milking-barn.html

herding cows into and out of the milking barn

English translation: difference between grass-fed/barn-fed cows?

18:56 Aug 27, 2018
English language (monolingual) [PRO]
Livestock / Animal Husbandry
English term or phrase: herding cows into and out of the milking barn
Hello everyone,

Something strange is happening at farms in upstate New York.

The cows are milking themselves.

Desperate for reliable labor and buoyed by soaring prices, dairy operations across the state are charging into a brave new world of udder care: robotic milkers . . .

Robots allow the cows to set their own hours, lining up for automated milking five or six times a day—turning the predawn and late-afternoon sessions around which dairy farmers long built their lives into a thing of the past.

With transponders around their necks, the cows get indi-vidualized service. Lasers scan and map their underbellies, and a computer charts each animal’s “milking speed,” a critical factor in a 24-hour-a-day operation.

..................

Every job is also being pulled apart faster. For instance, being a cow milker may become disaggregated. The high-skilled part of that job may move up—now you either have to learn computing or become a veterinarian who understands the anatomy of cows or be a big data scientist who can analyze a cow’s behavior. At the same time the less skilled part of that job—herding cows into and out of the milking barn and cleaning up their manure—may get pulled down so that it can be done by anyone for a minimum wage (and probably soon by a robot).

The phrase seems to be simple, but I don't understand it in the broader context.

The author clearly says: Robots allow the cows ***to set their own hours***, lining up for automated milking five or six times a day—turning the predawn and late-afternoon sessions around which dairy farmers long built their lives into a thing of the past.

So why cows need someone to herd them into and out of the milking barn?

Thank you.
Mikhail Korolev
Local time: 23:46
Selected answer:difference between grass-fed/barn-fed cows?
Explanation:
I agree with you, Charles and Mark Nathan that this does not seem logical at all so you should query it with the client.
However, it MAY have to do with the difference between using this technology on animals already feeding in barns and those grazing in fields.
I see a lot of farms in the EU and the USA have this technology now but these are for housed animals. That is, they are already in the barn and on a feeding system. It is far more difficult to "train" cows grazing in fields (grass-fed animals) to wander into the robots to be fed and milked. So perhaps that is the reason they need to be herded?
In practice, cows on pasture usually wander up to the gate in the entire herd to be collected and milked by the farmer. So it's possible that the "herding" means that, at the moment, animals still have to be herded/collected from the fields and encouraged into the robotic machines. I asked local farmers why they didn't invest in these machines and they told me it would not be worth it to them as it would not save them that much time. However, a new system is being tialled whereby animals are moved through various fields towards the robots. See here:
https://www.agriland.ie/farming-news/why-dont-more-irish-dai...

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Note added at 22 hrs (2018-08-28 17:30:08 GMT)
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last line: (a new system is being) tRialled...

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Note added at 22 hrs (2018-08-28 17:34:23 GMT)
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and here's a German farmer who installed portable machines actually in his fields
https://www.dairyglobal.net/Articles/General/2016/7/A-look-a...

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Note added at 4 days (2018-09-01 10:36:43 GMT) Post-grading
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Glad to have helped
Selected response from:

Yvonne Gallagher
Ireland
Local time: 20:46
Grading comment
Many thanks to everyone.
Thank you, Yvonne.
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer



SUMMARY OF ALL EXPLANATIONS PROVIDED
4 +7[see my explanation]
philgoddard
3 +1difference between grass-fed/barn-fed cows?
Yvonne Gallagher


Discussion entries: 3





  

Answers


21 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +7
[see my explanation]


Explanation:
If you look at the end of the sentence, it says "and probably soon by a robot". This task is not yet performed by robots, presumably because they're not mobile enough to go out into the fields, round up the cows, and lead them into the barn to be milked.

Funnily enough, my wife tells people I'm a world authority on milking robots because I've done lots of translations on the subject :-)

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Note added at 22 mins (2018-08-27 19:18:42 GMT)
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In other words, the robots are in the barn, but they can't yet go outside.

philgoddard
United States
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Tony M
15 mins

agree  Toni Douglas Martins
26 mins

agree  Sheri P: Off topic, but dairy prices are actually quite depressed in the US currently. Sadly, there’s been a rash of suicides among dairy farmers over the last few years.
1 hr

agree  JohnMcDove: Yes, and all robots are equal... but "some robots are more equal than others"... with my respects to George O... ;-)
1 hr

neutral  Charles Davis: But you haven't really answered the asker's question: if cows set their own hours, doesn't that mean they just turn up for milking when they feel like it? So why do they need herding, whether by people or robots?
3 hrs

neutral  Robin Levey: Agree totally with Charles. The point is that "herding" is (perhaps) becoming irrelevant in the food manufacturing chain, as cows head for the self-service "herd in".
4 hrs

agree  Lucas Fernandes: The "less skilled part of that job" is still done by humans. Not every farm uses robot technology everywhere.
5 hrs

neutral  Shekhar Banerjee: While the point of Mr. Charles looks right, I feel inclined to go by the version of Mr. Fernandes, which of course needs some ground level research to make it authentic enough!
7 hrs

agree  Mark Nathan: I think you should raise this issue with the client, as there certainly seems to be an inconsistency in the logic.
12 hrs

agree  Arabic & More: Agree with Lucas. This is not yet a reality everywhere.
13 hrs

neutral  B D Finch: On a traditional farm, the cows knew when it was time for milking and trooped in from the field by themselves. The farmer just needed to open the gate, hose them down and attach the milking machine. The cows even decided the order they were milked in.
13 hrs
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22 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5 peer agreement (net): +1
difference between grass-fed/barn-fed cows?


Explanation:
I agree with you, Charles and Mark Nathan that this does not seem logical at all so you should query it with the client.
However, it MAY have to do with the difference between using this technology on animals already feeding in barns and those grazing in fields.
I see a lot of farms in the EU and the USA have this technology now but these are for housed animals. That is, they are already in the barn and on a feeding system. It is far more difficult to "train" cows grazing in fields (grass-fed animals) to wander into the robots to be fed and milked. So perhaps that is the reason they need to be herded?
In practice, cows on pasture usually wander up to the gate in the entire herd to be collected and milked by the farmer. So it's possible that the "herding" means that, at the moment, animals still have to be herded/collected from the fields and encouraged into the robotic machines. I asked local farmers why they didn't invest in these machines and they told me it would not be worth it to them as it would not save them that much time. However, a new system is being tialled whereby animals are moved through various fields towards the robots. See here:
https://www.agriland.ie/farming-news/why-dont-more-irish-dai...

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 22 hrs (2018-08-28 17:30:08 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

last line: (a new system is being) tRialled...

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 22 hrs (2018-08-28 17:34:23 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

and here's a German farmer who installed portable machines actually in his fields
https://www.dairyglobal.net/Articles/General/2016/7/A-look-a...

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 4 days (2018-09-01 10:36:43 GMT) Post-grading
--------------------------------------------------

Glad to have helped

Yvonne Gallagher
Ireland
Local time: 20:46
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 12
Grading comment
Many thanks to everyone.
Thank you, Yvonne.

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Anna Quail
1 day 14 hrs
  -> Many thanks:-)
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