Fabio Oneda, a farmer in Italy, made the transition to automatic milking a few years ago. He currently milks 110 cows, the majority milked by a Lely Astronaut and the rest milked in a traditional parlour.

He chose Lely based on robot performance and animal-welfare standards. In the future he hopes to invest in a second Astronaut and become fully automatic.

The thing that has impressed him the most about Lely has been the technical support. When a problem arose on a public holiday in 2014, Fabio said of its quick resolution:

‘The support provided by Lely Italia was crucial. I am happy that I had all the technicians with me. They all worked together as a team to solve the problem. I never felt alone.’

A success story

Fabio took over the family farm from his father and his uncle in 1998. In the early days he was milking 40 cows in a traditional milking parlour. By 2011, however, his herd had grown to 85 cows and he was employing a milking assistant.

‘Following an illness, I decided to buy a milking robot to make life easier for myself. I then continued working alone, milking 60 cows with the robot and 25 cows in the parlour. Today I have 110 cows, which produce 1,200,000 kg of milk per year. Of this amount, 780,000 kg is milked by the robot.’

The transition to automatic

In 2010, Fabio visited a number of barns and observed many different robots at work. He ultimately chose the Lely brand because it was – and still is – the best, in terms of both performance and animal welfare. The start-up was a great success. Within two weeks all of the cows had got used to the robot. Furthermore, he has always enjoyed an excellent relationship with the employees and technicians at the Lely Center – there has never been a single argument.

‘I am delighted with the performance of my milking robot. I can no longer imagine life without it, and I would invest in another, if the economic situation was a bit better. In the five years that I have owned the robot it has needed corrective maintenance on just five occasions. Periodic preventive maintenance has always been carried out well and in good time.’

A technical problem solved

On 31 December 2014 a fault developed: the Lely Qwes reader was not recognising all of the Qwes cow- recognition tags. A technician came out immediately and replaced the reader with a new one, but the situation got worse instead of better: the new reader now only recognised ten Qwes tags. Lely technicians replaced all seventy of the Qwes tags and almost all of the circuit boards, but still nothing changed. Eventually, a solution was found:

‘In the end, the technicians solved the problem by changing the reader again. The technical service I received was fast and efficient: the technicians did not leave until the problem had been fixed.’

A satisfied customer

The support provided by Lely Italia was crucial. Fabio is really happy that he had all the technicians with him during this difficult situation. They all worked together as a team to solve the problem. He never felt alone, even though it happened on a public holiday. In fact, the issue arose on New Year’s Eve at 7:00 and was fully resolved by 15:00 on New Year’s Day.

‘The robot has never had any further antenna issues. I received very intense technical support in the following months to monitor my situation. Thankfully, life is now back to normal! I really just see this as an isolated incident. I still think that I made an excellent choice in buying a Lely Astronaut.’

Why our maintenance?

A healthy dairy farm demands more than just healthy animals, the right choices and partners. It is also about the preconditions, such as the equipment and machines. That is why we offer technical support and the right tools to make the equipment durable for a long period of time.