Farmers are calling it the wave of the future - robots doing jobs that used to belong to humans.
One local dairy farmer is now giving the new technology a try, using robots to milk all of his cows. It's making a big difference on his farm, and in our local ag industry.
It's new technology that we're seeing more and more of on farms across the U.S.
The latest local farm to join the tech revolution is Cinnamon Ridge Dairy in Donahue, Iowa.
Owner John Maxwell says milk production on his farm has increased by 10-15% since he started using robots to milk his cows.
Now, there's no human interaction involved. The cow just steps up to the machine; the robot reads a chip behind her ear that tells which cow it is and when she was last milked; and then the machine goes to work.
Maxwell says the robots boost cow comfort and saved him from having to hiring four full-time workers. Plus, there's all the time and effort they save him, too.
"My great-grandfather and my grandfather milked by hand. They would milk typically one to seven cows per person, per day. Daily job. A lot of hard work. You had great strength in your hands," Maxwell explained.
Maxwell says the robot gets about eight gallons of milk from each cow. That's more than a gallon more than what he'd get by hand-milking.
All that extra milk does come at a cost, though, at $1 million dollars for four of the robots.
Maxwell estimates the technology will pay for itself within the next seventeen years.