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Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnanehttps://www.thatsfarming.com/
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: 10 robots, 500 cows, 1,600-acres

By embracing dairy automation, Blythbridge Holsteins, Scotland, has witnessed increased milk yields, improved efficiencies, and reduced labour and running costs.

Colin Laird and family, who farm 1,600-acres in total, installed a rotary parlour twenty years ago to milk 200 cows twice daily.

However, as cow numbers hit the 550-mark, they had a desire to change their system.

The 500-cow dairy farm decided to install 10 Lely A5 milking robots, along with 3 Lely Discoverys, 2 Junos, one Lely Calm and Lely Meteors.

“We were ready to move to our next step. There were things we wanted to improve and make life easier,” Colin explained.

“Moreover, we are always striving to be more efficient. That was one of our main reasons for moving to Lely Astronaut milking robots.”

“We had seen the Lely A5 in action and felt it was running that bit smoother.”

“Lely’s attention to detail in building this machine was something that you would not even think about, especially when not having any experience milking with robots before.”

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It has reduced its staff base by over 50%, and the farm owner believes managing a smaller team of employees is easier.

Previous to installing the Lely A5s, they milked 550 cows three times a day, and now, the farm is averaging 3.2 milkings per day.

“When averaging 3.2 milkings per day, the robot is milking some freshly calved cows up to six times per day.”

“Meanwhile, cows that we are trying to pull back before drying off are only getting milked once a day.”

“Things like that are pretty much impossible to do in a conventional milking system,” said Colin as he revealed that the technology allows him to manage cows individually.

“Cows are free to do what they want and when they want. We have been very impressed with how the system works and how relaxed cows are,” he added.

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