Home' Shoalhaven Unlimited : 2009 Contents 09/10 - Shoalhaven Unlimited
The mind boggles when you hear that
the future of the dairy industry will be
fuelled by robots.
Are we talking about robotic cows? Or
more automated management systems in a
traditionally very hands-on industry? Fantasy
aside, the reality of the situation is not quite
as "sc-fi' as it sounds.
Robotic milking systems are in the sights of
local dairy farmers, which will see cows
moving onto their own milking units,
significantly cutting labour costs.
Chairman of South Coast Dairy, Paul
Timbs, says Shoalhaven farmers are already
known to be progressive and he can't see
much opposition to the new technology.
However, he adds there will be the odd
sceptic or two.
"There was one old farmer I knew who
would think we were all bloody stupid," he
Many European farmers use robotic
dairying and Mr Timbs explains he is
currently waiting on results of the latest
research to see if
the system can
work in a local
He says the
dairy farmer had only between 80 and 100
head to milk, compared to local farms with
more than 300 head on more open paddocks.
Research is currently taking place in
Camden and Mr Timbs says one local farmer
is on the verge of moving into the brave new
world of robotic dairying with or without
Mr Timbs took
over his Jaspers
Brush farm from his
father, Ray, who he
thinks would have
embraced the new
technology. He also
rejects the claim that greater automation will
mean more jobs will be lost.
Finding people willing to get up early in the
morning and work the long hours on a dairy
farm is difficult, he explains.
Mr Timbs thinks the dairy industry has a
good future and the Shoalhaven is primed to
make the most of the situation.
With the Shoalhaven's tepid climate so
suitable for dairy farming, and being so close
to major centres like Wollongong, Sydney
and Newcastle, things are looking very
positive for the local industry.
In fact, he says dairy farming is currently so
desirable that he can identify at least three
new dairy farms that have started up in the
past couple of years.
For Mr Timbs, it's a lifestyle he loves and he
says he has never regretted taking over the
The hefty price of land in the region is the
only deterrent to more dairy farms being
established, he claims.
And, like most other primary production,
the dairy industry has global warming issues
Mr Timbs says that, compared to many
other farming industries, dairies have lower
carbon emissions, and most local farmers had
already started looking at ways to protect the
environment and their long-term livelihoods.
There was one old farmer
I knew who would think we
were all bloody stupid
world of dairy farming
could soon be overrun
by robots, with many
Shoalhaven farms first
Chairman of South Coast Dairy Paul Timbs is looking forward to seeing the local dairy industry become more efficient.
Mooving to a
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