Robotic Cow Milking: It’s the Waldo Way

Waldo Way Real Milk Guernsey Dairy will use a robot system originally used to build cars that is being repurposed by AMS Galaxy into a cow-milker.

Waldo Way

Instead of two people milking 60 cows in the morning and evening, a robot soon will take the honor at Waldo Way Real Milk Guernsey Dairy, allowing cows to be milked at will throughout the day. More milk means more products available for the growing customer base at the Mineola farm, that serves about 3,000 Dallas consumers.

This robot, originally designed to build cars, has been turned into a milking machine that not only cleans Bessie’s utters before and after the milking, but rewards her with alfalfa hay dispensed at the just the correct amount for her weight, thanks to a chip embedded in a necklace.

The robot is being built in Holland and should be installed by AMS-Galaxy in the first part of December. The machine has been building cars for about 50 years. Trenton Montgomery, chief financial officer, said a few changes, including the robot’s software, allowed it to be designed for milking cows.

Training for cows should take about two weeks, Montgomery said.

“Cows have Groundhog Day routines. Once they figure out where it is, they will automatically go to that spot.” Trenton Montgomery

“Cows have Groundhog Day routines,” he said. “Once they figure out where it is, they will automatically go to that spot.”

Montgomery said current cow-milkers consist of himself and the farm’s owner, his mother NaRisa Waldo, who opened the 100-percent registered Guernsey farm four years ago. He said Guernseys produce A2 milk which is identical to mother’s milk so people that are lactose intolerant can handle the milk, and babies who are as young as 1 week old can drink the milk. A2 signifies a type of beta-casein protein.

 

Because of state regulations, currently the raw milk is only sold at the farm. That might explain why some of their 10,000 customers drive for miles to purchase the raw milk along with other farm-fresh products. One customer told Montgomery that since he has been using the farm’s products his blood pressure is lower, another customer who couldn’t drink regular milk because of a lifetime suffering from colitis now orders 20 gallons at a time.  

Laura Dutton drives 150 miles to the farm from Azle, at least twice per month, to buy the milk, sausages and farm fresh eggs. Dutton said she takes the drive not because of what’s in the milk, but rather, what’s not in the milk.

“Other farmers feed their cows dairy rations that contain soy, corn gluten, and distilled grain,” she said. “Well, I don’t do soy. I don’t do corn gluten, and I don’t do distilled grain.”

WALDO WAY’S CATTLE ARE GRASS FED

Cows at the Waldo Way Real Milk Guernsey Dairy are grass-fed and graze on pastures that have a variety of native grasses such as wheat, rye, and oats, but no chemicals.

Dutton said the since she started drinking the milk, she feels better overall and has lost weight. She said the milk outlasts pasteurized milk, and doesn’t go bad. She said eventually it will sour, but then it is still great for cooking.

The dairy’s growing customer base led to a growing facility. Montgomery said they are currently in the process of building a 3,000 square foot retail facility that will include a Milk Bar, where you can have a seat and order a glass of the liquid gold or their best-selling drinkable yogurt.

Also in the works is a 6,000-square-foot processing plant for low-temperature pasteurization processing that will allow sales to retail outlets such as Whole Foods and Sprouts.

With this method, most probiotics and beneficial enzymes remain in the milk, unlike the ultra pasteurized method that heats milk to the point of destroying the natural nutrition and causing the need to add vitamins back into the milk, Montgomery said. Customers can expect to see products on the shelves in the spring.

To celebrate the new facilities, the Waldo Way Dairy will be hosting a groundbreaking ceremony at 10 a.m. Sept. 3.

At 11 a.m., the store will open so customers can buy fresh dairy products. For more information, to pre-order dairy products, or book an overnight stay at the farm’s Gatehouse Inn, visit the farm’s website.


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