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Massachusetts Celebrates Investment In Robotic Milking

Park system's working dairy farm gets a $2.1 million upgrade as an agricultural technology showcase.

John Vogel, Editor, American Agriculturist

October 13, 2011

2 Min Read

On Wednesday, Massachusetts' Department of Conservation and Recreation hosted an open house to celebrate renovations to Great Brook Farm in Carlisle, Mass. The agency partnered with other state and federal agencies in $2.1 million of improvements to its year-round dairy farm, the centerpiece of which is a robotic milking system.

In April of 2011, the farm built a new annex and dairy barn – now dubbed the "Smart Barn" – outfitted for 60 cows with the potential to accommodate up to 110 cows. The dairy farm's waste water system was also upgraded to handle milk room waste water, with the system design and construction costing $500,000.


It's part of a pilot program that will yield environmental data results that could be used for regulatory reforms for agricultural waste water statewide, report state officials. DCR partnered with the state's Department of Environmental Protection, Department of Agricultural Resources, and USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service.

The smartest part of this dairy farm is Delaval's Voluntary Milking System robotic milking unit purchased in December of 2010 for $350,000 with funding from DAR. It's touted as Massachusetts' first robotic milking system.

The VMS allows farmers to focus on the larger management of herd by helping farm managers run more sustainable, professional and productive dairy operations. The robotic milking system allows round-the-clock milking designed to optimize quality milk yield.

DCR has also worked with DAR and USDA on $200,000 in upgrades in manure and hay storage. DCR also spent $45,000 to complete an interpretive signage project at the new barn.

"Great Brook Farm State Park provides an excellent opportunity for recreation and education, "says DAR Commissioner Scott Soares. "As a centerpiece, this state-of-the-art dairy facility provides an unmatched opportunity to learn more about dairy farming in Massachusetts, new technologies that are being implemented, and management practices that contribute to greater sustainability."

About the Author(s)

John Vogel

Editor, American Agriculturist

For more than 38 years, John Vogel has been a Farm Progress editor writing for farmers from the Dakota prairies to the Eastern shores. Since 1985, he's been the editor of American Agriculturist – successor of three other Northeast magazines.

Raised on a grain and beef farm, he double-majored in Animal Science and Ag Journalism at Iowa State. His passion for helping farmers and farm management skills led to his family farm's first 209-bushel corn yield average in 1989.

John's personal and professional missions are an integral part of American Agriculturist's mission: To anticipate and explore tomorrow's farming needs and encourage positive change to keep family, profit and pride in farming.

John co-founded Pennsylvania Farm Link, a non-profit dedicated to helping young farmers start farming. It was responsible for creating three innovative state-supported low-interest loan programs and two "Farms for the Future" conferences.

His publications have received countless awards, including the 2000 Folio "Gold Award" for editorial excellence, the 2001 and 2008 National Association of Ag Journalists' Mackiewicz Award, several American Agricultural Editors' "Oscars" plus many ag media awards from the New York State Agricultural Society.

Vogel is a three-time winner of the Northeast Farm Communicators' Farm Communicator of the Year award. He's a National 4-H Foundation Distinguished Alumni and an honorary member of Alpha Zeta, and board member of Christian Farmers Outreach.

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