Paul H. Detwiler is the General Manager of STgenetics® Research and Genetic Development farm, the Ohio Heifer Center, located in South Charleston, Ohio. Detwiler analyzes the operation’s collected data to breed more efficient dairy cows. To support this effort, the farm’s team milks with 16 Lely Astronaut A5 robotic milking systems, which gather the vital data used in the breeding program.

When STgenetics® (ST) and The Ohio Heifer Center (OHC) were designing a new barn, they had to decide upon the milking strategy that would best fit their vision.

“One of the buzzwords in our industry, as we evolve, is robots vs. rotaries,” Detwiler said.

Once the decision was made to go with robots, it was clear the brand would be Lely.

“It was a very easy selection to pick the Lely Astronaut A5 robots,” explained Detwiler.

For ST-OHC, the Lely philosophy of free-flow and animal management were consistent with their company’s welfare standards.

Maximizing Animal Welfare with Lely Robotic Milking

“Part of STgenetics® core values are committing to animal welfare, with our building site at the time and our cow care team, it fit us better to go with the robot management style.” Paul explained.

ST-OHC wanted to develop a barn where a cow could free-flow but where their cow care team could assist them when needed. The added benefits of the data they receive from the Lely robots made it easier for them to install this milking system.

Pairing Automated Milking Systems with Farm Data

The Time for Cows (T4C) program of the Lely Astronaut A5 was another reason ST-OHC chose Lely robots. This program collects data from each cow that provides important information to their data milking center. Gaining insight beyond the body weight of every cow is what mattered to Detwiler and the STgenetics® Development team.

“[Getting] the somatic cell score, the pounds of milk, the fat, the protein – everything that comes along with the data that the T4C program produces is vital to our overall goals,” explained Paul.

These advanced metrics are useful when analyzing each cow’s lifetime EcoFeed® index. Analyzing data is becoming more and more important to dairies. For ST-OHC, analytics not only helps with tracking milk production and feed efficiency, but also with determining the performance of future cows in their breeding program.

“It’s important to have a lifetime database of information when you’re trying to identify those genetically superior animals that eat less food. That’s the goal of our EcoFeed® program – to identify those bulls that will sire daughters that need less inputs but still produce the same amount of milk,” explained Detwiler.

Farm Details

“We’ve been happy with the operation thus far, and we look forward to moving toward our goal of 800 cows in our current facility,” said Detwiler.

Their South Charleston operation currently milks with 16 Lely Astronaut A5 robotic milking robots and the team feeds their calves with the Lely Calm calf feeder.

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.