Robotic Milking Comes To Foster Dairy

Braving the dropping temperatures, around 250 visitors took advantage of the Foster Dairy Farm Open House Saturday.

The Foster family was showcasing their transition from milking their cows in a 12-cow parlor to milking them robotically.  Since September 2016 their cows have 24 hours a day, 7 days a week access to being voluntarily milked.

“An interesting fact is the Kansas Department of Agriculture gave me statistics adjusted for 2017 about our farm,” David Foster said.

“The Bourbon County dairy industry has a direct economic benefit effect to our county of $11.5 million and provides 25 jobs,” Foster said. “The dairy industry provides 1.2 percent of the gross revenues for the county. We are doing quite a bit from our little farm.”

Lynda and Gary Foster and their eldest son David and his wife, Addi Foster are the owners of the dairy farm located southwest of Fort Scott at 1037 Hwy. 39.

In addition to tours of the facility, a meal was provided tour attendees, along with door prizes. Sponsors helping with the tour were Producer’s Cooperative of Girard who cooked the burgers, brats and hot dogs that were served, DFA/Midwest Dairy, UMB Bank, Seneca Dairy Supply, Uniontown FFA, Fort Scott FFA  and Fort Scott Chamber of Commerce.

A sign on the wall in the robot milking room tells of the productivity of Foster Dairy for one day and one cow. The majority of their milk goes to a Hiland Dairy processing plant.
The robot arm cleans the teat cups with heated steam, followed by a short rinse with water. The milk is suctioned off to a nearby container, where it is analyzed for milk production and quality, cow health and cow activity.
David Foster tells about the robots that feed, milk the cows and analyze the milk product. Foster is the fourth generation on this family farm, southwest of Fort Scott in the Hiattville area.
David Foster speaks to a tour group in the robotics room at Foster Dairy Saturday during its open house. The robots that store and analyze the milk are behind Foster. In between these robots, the cattle come in voluntarily and are milked by a robotic arm.
Some of the Foster Dairy cows lie down in a sand-bedded stall in a barn, while others come to greet the people who came to the open house at the Foster Farm Saturday.
David Foster, a dairyman along with his wife, Addi, and his parents, Lynda and Gary Foster, gave  tours  Saturday during the Foster Dairy Farm Open House.
David Foster tells about the different feeds given to his herd of dairy cattle, during one of the tours. Whole cottonseed is the commodity in this barn.
Farm visitor Gabby George has a handful of the whole cottonseed that is part of a mix of ingredients available to the cattle  24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Each calf has its own shelter to protect from the elements.
Farm tour visitors Gunner and Gabby George enjoy getting the attention of a calf.

See more about the Foster Dairy on its Facebook page.

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