Prior to installing a Lely Astronaut Robotic milking system, Gerald and Henry Dunne, Enniscorthy, Co. Wexford were once-a-day milking in a 12-unit herringbone parlour.
With labour saving a huge driver for the father-son-duo, 3 Lely A5 Astronaut milking robots were supplied by Lely Center Enniscorthy and installed on the farm in November 2018.
The system was commissioned and milking began in January 2019, with cows housed indoors full-time and fed with zero-grazed grass.
Increased milk production
“Since transitioning to our new system, it has allowed us to produce more milk per cow from the same acreage, with milk solids already exceeding our 2018 figures.”
“We milked 170 cows at max this spring and we plan to increase this to 195 cows, with an output up to 8,000L in the next two years.”
“Our animals have adapted extremely well to the system and their contentment is clearly visible."
"Work-life balance has always been a key driver for us and the Lely A5 Robots, Lely Discovery scraper, and the Juno feed pusher has allowed us to achieve this effectively.”
The resounding message at an open day - which attracted close to 400 people - was that there are huge benefits to be gained from robotic milking but only if you identify a system which best suits your individual needs.
A range of speakers from Lely Center Enniscorthy gave an insight into robotic milking and the process involved from start-up to post-installation. Areas discussed included yard planning and design, milk data analysis and animal nutrition.
The newly appointed dedicated farm management support advisor, Catherine Heffernan, stated that her main aim going forward is to assist farmers in their transition to robotic milking and help them set out and achieve their goals.
“The approach is to evaluate each individual farm, troubleshoot any problems which may occur, and help farmers make practical improvements in areas such as animal nutrition, cow comfort and grassland management,” she said.
Lely Center Enniscorthy General Manager, Tom O’Leary, added, “Making the transition to robotic milking is not for the short-term.”
“It is a long-term investment which requires strategic planning, decision making and ongoing management.”
“Lely Center Enniscorthy is committed to guiding our customers every step of the way to ensure an efficient and effective system which will deliver a more profitable and sustainable future,” O’Leary concluded.