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Advisory Board Dairy Tour

Posted: September 25, 2014

The Advisory Board and staff enjoyed an evening visit to a local dairy farm, where they witnessed Lely Astronaut milking robots in action.
Rebecca Harrop talking to members and staff about the robotic milker

Rebecca Harrop talking to members and staff about the robotic milker

On September 17th, 2014, the District 13 Extension and Lewistown Center Board visited the Harrop Dairy Farm located in Milroy, PA. The dairy presently milks 140 cows with the use of four Lely Astronaut milking robots, which were installed in 2009.

The Harrop Family moved to Mifflin County from Chester County in 1972, with 13 head of cattle. From that small beginning they have built up to the present herd, plus cropping acres which are used to grow feed for the dairy and raise Holstein steers. Through the use of robots, the family was able to expand the dairy herd without a need to increase outside labor. The four robots now do milking chores that previously required human hands. The family labor can now focus on the other tasks of the dairy, and management of the herd.

The board was able to see firsthand how high tech solutions are being applied to today’s dairy industry. While completing the simple task of milking, these robots also collect a vast amount of data about each cow which can be used to better manage the herd. Better management leads to better milk production and farm profitability, which ultimately leads to sustaining the Mifflin County and Pennsylvania dairy farm industry.

The Penn State Extension Dairy Team assists dairy industry producers in deciding which herd management techniques are best for achieving both the farm’s and the industry’s sustainability.

Contact Information

John Tyson
  • Agricultural Engineer, Educator
Phone: 717-248-9618