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HomeDairyVIDEO: ‘When I want to’ – is 110-cow dairy farmers’ new motto
Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane hails from a sixth-generation drystock and specialised pedigree suckler enterprise in Co. Mayo. She currently holds the positions of editor and general manager at That's Farming, having joined the firm during its start-up phase in 2015.
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VIDEO: ‘When I want to’ – is 110-cow dairy farmers’ new motto

Lely Robot Farm Testimonial

Improved farm efficiency is just one of several results that automation has yielded on Gem and Mike King’s 110-cow dairy farm in North Bristol, England.

The farm, spanning 260-acres, has operated two Lely Astronaut robots for twelve years and a Lely Vector feeding system.

At a recent farm open day, the dairy farmers provided an insight into their journey to robotic milking.

Gem told farm walk attendees: “We had two, a toddler and a baby, our herdsman decided that he had enough, and the parlour, which was second-hand when we bought it, was falling apart in places at the time.”

“We shopped about, and Lely came out as the best in so many ways. It ticked every box that we were looking for. I cannot think of any negatives.”

“The robots worked out the same price over X amount of years, as a new parlour and a herdsman would.”

She revealed that robotic milking has delivered benefits for the farm in terms of herd health, milk yield and cow comfort and on a personal work balance/family life level.

As Mike told attendees, Lely robots are an entire management system and “can do much more than just milking cows”, including providing data on milk quality and herd health.

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Lely Vector

On the other hand, the family installed a Lely Vector automatic feeding system just over two years ago, after they were faced with a decision of repairing their existing feed wagon or purchasing a replacement.

But, for the family, investing in a Vector, a mixing and feeding robot, was a “no-brainer”, given their experience with another best-seller – milking robots – within its product portfolio.

Previously, a spokesperson for Lely said:

“It is a revolutionary system that, in addition to energy and labour savings, has an unprecedented positive effect on cow health and feed efficiency.”

“By feeding more often and more precisely, the nutrients in the feed are optimally utilised. The intelligent software also enables steering based on profitability instead of just on milk yield and weight gain.”

“Both dairy and beef farmers can calculate the impact on their margin of a change in a ration and thus improve their operating results,” they added.

Moreover, for the Kings, who farm 260-acres, “the Vector fits in perfectly as it works well together [with robots]”.

“I can spend four hours a week looking after the feed kitchen as opposed to when using a tractor and feeding wagon and scraping, which took four hours per day.”

“Lely equipment gives me a lot more flexibility in terms of what I can do and when. I can effectively feed the cows when I want to feed the cows. I do not have to do it at 7 am or whatever.”

“If the feed kitchen is running out, I can get to it when I want to get to it rather than putting feed in for the cows because the cows have run out.”

“With milking, I have to change the filters twice daily, but it is flexible as to when I want to. Having that, secured the future of dairy by taking that step into the next technology,” he concluded.

Other articles on That’s Farming:

VIDEO: 10 robots, 500 cows, 1,600-acres

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