Dairy Farming

 The modern dairy farm is entirely electrical and computerized. This includes the following functions:

  1. Milking is done using an electric vacuum pump.
  2. The amount of milk given by each cow is measured, with the data sent to a computer.
  3. The milking machine automatically disconnects from the cow's udder at the proper moment, based on the amount of milk that has been received.
  4. The piping leading from the cow is automatically cleaned under electronic control.
  5. The entire milking area is washed after the milking is finished, following a series of steps that are electronically controlled (similar to the control cycle of a washing machine).
  6. The milk is transferred to a refrigerated tank, which operates on electricity.
  7. A special control system is installed to guard against errors, making sure that the waste water used in the cleaning cycle is not added to the milk in the refrigerator tank and that no milk is spilled into the waste disposal system.
  8. Electric pumps transfer the milk from the vacuum milking system to the refrigerated tank.
  9. A sophisticated electronic system identifies each cow as it enters the dairy, based on reading a personal ID tag, and makes decisions about the disposition of the milk.
  10. Lighting uses the normal electric power supply.
  11. Water must be heated to allow the farmers to wash after the milking and for washing the cows.
  12. A low-power electric prong is used to guide the cows into the milking area.

 What can a farmer do to avoid using or turning on electricity on Shabbat? (This question is aside from the basic question of milking cows on Shabbat.)

 In order to solve the problems of a dairy farm on Shabbat, The Zomet Institute makes use of several halachic principles, such as gramma, continuing the status of an electric current, and full automation. In addition, in some cases the cows themselves perform necessary actions. For example, the cow who gives the milk can turn on the system to measure its amount. A secondary mechanism is installed which is automatically turned on for a very short time at regular intervals, and when this detects a few drops of milk the measuring device is turned on. The identification and washing systems are turned on when the cow passes through a ray in a photoelectric device.


The operation of the dairy barn is initiated by a Shabbat timer. The washing cycle at the end of the milking begins automatically if no milk has entered the pumps for twenty minutes (indicating that the milking is over). Some electrical mechanisms are replaced by devices which work on high air pressure, pneumatically, or on vacuums.


For details and to order service, contact The Zomet Institute.

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