Santa Vaca. That is one of my favorite sayings here on the farm. I grew up saying holy cow quite often. I lived a couple years in Spain, and became fluent in Spanish. I now say santa vaca and oh how the workers smile & laugh when I say it. They usually reply with a "holy cow" with a bad accent and chuckling at the literal translation of my phrase.
Tonight when I got in I was covered in dung. I actually took my shirt off & tossed it in the dumpster on the way in. I have a lot of shirts because my brothers bring me their older shirts to wear to the barn, get dirty and toss. My son, Bronco and I ran half of the pen 2 cows through the flat barn tonight to train them, get them accustomed to going through the robot box and prepare for our start up next week. He had a blast! I had fun also. We were smiling most of the time, and I was pushing & prodding cows trying to guide them into the new alley-type entrance into the robot stall.
It has been an amazing week. This is the week I had thought would happen last week. We made so much progress this week and the robots are running well. They are feeding 24 hours a day and some of the cows have started to enter on their own. It was fun sitting down at the computer this morning with John, from the robot company, and look at the cows that entered on their own during the nighttime hours.
The tech guys were great this week. I am sure I drive them nutty at times, as we have a big investment and are really anxious to get started milking cows through the flat barn. I see so much potential and benefit from robotic milking. I love the concept of cows not standing in a holding pen waiting to go into the parlor. One of the biggest challenges we face on our dairy is lameness. I sure think that robotic milking will improve that. I called our state dairy extension specialist a couple of weeks ago and asked for his help in monitoring some of the progress, differences, benefits and areas that I need to focus on through this project. I know he will be a big asset in helping. He is very capable and is quite excited about the first AMS in the state going up. It is actually the first AMS in the neighboring states also. The technology is in its infancy here in the western united states, but has been going on successfully in Europe and north of us. I hope I am not too optimistic. I am a dreamer. If this all pays off my dreams may even get bigger.