Perhaps an area of farming that has changed most dramatically within living memory is dairy farming. Many farming families have memories of milking by hand and all their cows having names, Buttercup being a common favorite it seems! Not that long ago most farmers would have had a small dairy herd, but now there are less farms milking, each with many more cows.
Over 2010 Sarah visited a range of diary farms in Cornwall and spent many an hour upside down looking at cows udders!! Perhaps the strangest experience was watching a robotic milking machine in action! Firstly the cows queue to be milked (so English!). They can visit the machine as much as they like with many cows choosing to be milked more than the usual twice a day. Once they are in the machine it knows what cow it is and provides the correct amount of food. Whilst the cow eats a laser machine shoots under the cow to establish where each teat is pointing and then sucks on to begin milking (very futuristic!). Once done the cow is let out and another one moves on in. The machine itself is quite the robot! If a cow is lame it even phones the farmers mobile to let them know!