Lely Center Mullingar will host two robotic milking open days next week, one of which will take place on the farm of Peter Anderson.
“I didn’t see a future in beef and sheep and decided that dairying was the way forward for my farm,” explained Peter Anderson who is based in Kilrush, Athy, in Co. Kildare.
The 55-year-old was farming 70 sucklers and over 200 store lambs and was growing winter wheat/barley and oilseed rape before he converted to dairy farming.
With that, he sold all his sucklers in the latter half of 2018 and purchased 66 dairy heifers; he retained the beef offspring, both heifers and bulls, which grazed surplus grass this summer.
Peter calved the group of dairy heifers from the end of January (2019) onwards and started milking in a new Lely A5 robot. “I was lucky in hindsight, given the current prices and problems facing the beef industry.”
“I’m 55 years of age and didn’t see myself milking twice per day in a parlour. I thought robots were a gimmick at the 'Ploughing' but soon realised, after visiting three new entrant farms in Tullamore, that Lely robots work very well on these farms,”
Why Lely robots?
“I looked at other makes and models but after seeing the 3 new entrant farms in Tullamore, I felt that Lely Mullingar gave the best support and advice from start to finish.”
The team in Mullingar designed his shed, slurry storage layout, grazing platform, roadways, drinkers etc., managed the project, installed, commissioned and started the robot.
“They have lots of experience and knowledge in this area and their service back-up is excellent.”
“The technical advice from farm meetings, customer workshops etc. is excellent and they are very easy to deal with,” Peter added.
Average milk yields for the heifers - which are farmed on a 110-acre block - are running at 17-litres, protein is 3.84% and 4.6% butterfat. TBCs are 4,000 and SCCs are running at 100,000 cells per ml.
Milk solids for the heifers should finish at 350kgs this year and Peter hopes to achieve 500kgs as mature cows from a concentrate input of 1-tonne.
Looking ahead, the Kildare native aims to increase cow numbers to 140 in the next two years and has plans to install another A5 in the next year. “I hope to have 70 cows milking per robot achieving 500kgs of milk solids each.”
“I have 110-acres available to me, so the stocking rate on this farm will be 2.85 LU/Ha.
“I like the feed-to-yield, drafting, mastitis detection, heat detection, rumination, somatic cell counters etc. and all the information to make farm management decisions.”
“I like to track the heifers throughout their lactation and the information generated is very impressive. The ABC grazing is very good as the heifers are offered fresh grass 3 times daily” concluded Peter.
Come and see the Lely Astronaut A4 milking robot in action on the farm of Peter Anderson, Kilrush, Athy, Co. Kildare, R14 NW22 on Wednesday, August 24th - you are welcome from 12 pm to 4 pm.
The farm will be signposted from main roads - for more information, phone Niall Mc Gauran - 086-4178424.