Robotics cow milking – Lely Astronaut A4



The Lely Astronaut A4 milks cows in a completely automated manner, thus freeing humans to do something else, and probably does a better job than people do. Seriously. Robotics is coming to all sorts of industries.

Businessweek explains how the Lely Astronaut A4 works.


  1. Removing the human participation in milking (1) reduces the awareness of cows (or other ruminants) as sentient beings, (2) reduces the number of jobs available – is there currently a shortage of humans to “do something else”? – and (3) gives (heavily subsidized) megacorporations yet another advantage over small businesses, who can’t possibly afford robotics.

    Welcome to one possible future. My small, family-owned dairy and cheesemaking operation represents another. You choose which one becomes reality every time you choose what food to buy.

    • Their website said perkily that it allows people to do other things. At $210,000 each, it’s for large scale diary only but given that the cows get milked unattended means that far fewer farm hands are needed. There are also now tractor / combines that harvest crops unattended. My real point here is that robotics is coming soon in all sorts of ways to all manner of businesses.

  2. Here’s a video I made a couple of years back comparing the two approaches to dairying:

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