A super dairy

After almost a week of meetings it was great to get out on-farm today.

We drove into Pennsylvania to look at a high-tech, robotic milking system. It was an impressive setup – 2400 cattle milking more than 27m litres of milk a year. While hygiene and welfare were obviously impeccable, it did make me feel a little uncomfortable about the thought the milk I consume could be produced in a a system like this.


The scale was almost impossible to get your head around – there can’t be that many dairies that require you to get on a bus to drive through them because walking would take too long.

cattle shedscow shed fans

It’s interesting with all the debate going on back home about the Nocton ‘super dairy’ in Lincolnshire to think that this one is only half the size of the one being planned…

This afternoon we saw an apple-packing plant, which was another impressive sight. The amount of mechanisation involved was amazing – one machine scanned the fruit for shape, blemishes, size and colour before segregating it into one of 18 channels.

It’s a system that requires few people but a lot of energy to run – it’ll be interesting to see how upcoming changes to electricity charges in the US will force processors to reevaluate their methods.

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1 Response to “A super dairy”

  1. Rob

    Traveling through CA some of the dairy’s here are 5000 to 7000 head, all under shelter but not indoors . CA is the largest producer in the US. I’m still not all that sure about this type of production either.