Buckets, milk containers, automatic milking machines, pasteurizers and parlor equipment are some of the equipment used on a dairy farm. The specific type of equipment required depends on the size of the dairy operation, its location and the number of cows milked. Other types of equipment commonly found on dairy farms include automated scrapers and waste handling systems, milk chiller tanks, watering equipment, tractors and feeders.
For small dairy farms, the only equipment required is a stool and a bucket. Larger operations typically use milking parlors, which are areas with livestock chutes arranged in a circle. Workers on the farm bring the cows into the area for milking. Once the cows are in their pens, workers attach automated milking devices to the cows' udders to start the milking process.
The milk produced moves through a series of pipes to the farm's storage and processing facility for pasteurization and further processing, depending on the dairy farm's product needs and capabilities. Typically, a mechanical separator separates the milk from the cream, and workers send the separated products to chillers or for further processing to make products such as butter.
Many large modern dairies use robotic milkers, as of 2015. These units allow the cow to choose when she wants to be milk and reportedly provide better yields from more comfortable cows.