Meet Luke and Mel Wallace, third generation farmers in Poowong milking 170 Jersey’s on 3 Lely Astronaut milking robots. The installation of robots marks the fifth dairy on their property since Luke's grandparents first purchased the farm.

Life before Robots

Mel shares some insights into how they were with a traditional dairy farm.

"Pre-robots, our life was really tied to being in and around the dairy all the time. We didn’t have days off. While Luke was only seeing the kids in the evening. We both had sore shoulders and wrists just because of standing on the concrete twice a day. Deciding to go for robots, we first spoke to a lot of other farmers and they said it's so much better for the cows."

A more enjoyable and efficient life

During our interview, Luke explains the positive impact the robots have had to his personal life.

"Currently with the milking robots in, I (Luke) can have breakfast with the kids before they get on the bus... I probably get an hour's more sleep everyday now which over a week is pretty much another day's sleep."

"Also I've started running again a bit more, which has been really good. There's more time where I can get away and just go, 'Tomorrow morning I'm gonna go for a run,' and I can go and do a park run at seven or eight in the morning cause I don't have to be in the dairy. I actually even did a half marathon earlier in the year (2023), which was something I'd wanted to do for a long time."

Data from the Lely Horizon management system

"The daily information and data that you get through the robots is quite amazing. There's so many different reports that you can create and look at. I always look at that health report first. I have the highest cell count changes, I have rumination changes, inactive cows, I have them all come up in that one report so I can just open one report and see any cows that may need attention, or you can structure that you can have whatever you want into that one report. And I think that's a really, really cool feature."

"With the extra information that we receive daily on individual cows, we're able to feed them individually, feed them to requirements, and we're actually saving money on grain because we're actually using less over the whole herd, but using it more strategically."

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Relaxed cows

"We always had quiet cows, but I think they're probably even more relaxed and chilled now because you're not forcing them to go certain ways. We do not force the cows anymore to go into the dairy or you have to come into the yard. They just do it when it suits them. And our cows have adapted really, really well."

Support during start-up

Luke and Mel have described Lely's support as "phenomenal. The Lely Center Gippsland had a minimum of two staff members here,  24 hours a day, accessible any time. We could call at two in the morning and someone would be out here straight away, couldn't knock it at all. It was fantastic, and that's continued on."

Third milking robot

After 12 months, the Wallace family have already put in a third robot. Originally, they planned for an additional robot to be installed within 3-5 years but it was already done after 12 months. "This allows us to milk more cows, generate more income through more milk but also through extra replacement numbers..the more cows that we can calf in, obviously the more heifer calves we can have born and grown on and potentially sell to other breeders."

Luke and Mel Wallace – Lely Astronaut A5 - Australia

Why Lely?

Farmers all over the world make choices about how they set up and run their farms. Every day, we help them make the best choices for themselves and their farms. We do this by providing advice and innovative solutions that contribute to efficient farm management. For sustainable milk and meat production. Present and future.