Agriculture and Automation

February 26, 2018

A new report entitled “A future that works: Automation, employment, and productivity” published recently by McKinsey& Company, a management consulting firm, assessed the technical automation potential of the global economy. Employment in agriculture, for instance, has fallen from 40 percent in 1900 to less than 2 percent today.

Automation potential in agriculture ranks at 58%, based on type of activity: management (<10%), expertise and interface (20% to 30%), unpredictable physical activities (40% to 50%), data processing (70% to 80%), data collection and predictable physical activities (80% to 90%).

Milking cows is one predictable physical task that can be automated., according to the analysis. The work is intensive with employees working almost 24/7, every day of the year. This, coupled with the challenge of finding a qualified workforce, makes the milking center one of the most difficult areas to manage. Plus, communication and cultural barriers can complicate the relationship between dairy owners, managers and employees. For these reasons, robotic milking is becoming popular in dairy farms. It has been reported there are more than 35,000 robotic units on farms worldwide.


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