Father-Son duo increase yields and improve feeding efficiency with the Lely Vector
Situated in Richhill, Stuart and Paul Lyness continue to farm the site which Stuart's grandfather bought back in 1971. The farm's focus shifted from a beef and sheep enterprise to dairy in 2017 when they installed a Lely A4 Astronaut. Shortly after, another A4 robot was added to expand the farm further. However, it was the landmark installation of the Lely Vector system in February 2023 that marked a true turning point in their farming journey. It not only transformed their livestock management but also redefined their daily routines for the better.
Since installing the Vector earlier this year, both Paul and Stuart have been reaping in the benefits from both a social and business perspective. "In winter time we were probably spent around 3 hours feeding a day, now we are down to around 2 and a half hours a week. We weren't tied to milking because of the robots, but we were tied to feeding. Cows had to be fed for 8 o'clock every morning.''
Lyness’ have seen an incredible increase of 900 litres from forage. They now have a predicted 305 day yield of 11,500kg at a feed rate of 0.37kg/litre. Current daily average yields are 38kgs, 3.3% protein and 3.9% fats. Their impressive feed efficiency of 1.7kg of milk from 1kg of dry matter fed highlights their commitment to precision feeding and producing top-quality forage.
The positive outcomes extended beyond time savings. Stuart explained, "The cows went up roughly just over a kilo of dry matter intake since the vector was installed. Heifers got a big lift of milk as they were getting 9, 10 feeds a day and they were never getting bullied. We've never had heifers milk as well before. Feeding's every two hours, we've seen a big benefit for the heifers."
Paul also highlighted the economic advantages of installing their Vector system, stating, "You're saving on your machinery, you don't need your tractor the same, you don't need your tub feeder the same. In fact, we don't need the tub feeder at all now, it all suits."
Looking ahead to the future Paul claims that "We're only in it from February, so it's a ball park we're using, but we think it's going to work out probably to be a payback of four years at present costs."
The flexibility and simplicity of the Lely Vector system have impressed the Lyness family. Paul elaborated on how the flexibility has benefited the herd, "We can feed different batches different feeds or mixtures and it's very simple. It was difficult before because of the quantities needed, if you're mixing 150, 200, 300 kilos it's impossible in a tub feeder behind a tractor."
Stuart drew an interesting parallel between the system and an additional labour unit, emphasising its role in minimising human errors and maximising productivity. "Look at it as if you've an extra labour unit coming on to the farm. Not only that, you've got no mishaps of feeding, which in turn is your most expensive part of your running costs. There's no human error... You get more time to manage other things, weekends are far more relaxed. I tend to fill the kitchen on a Friday and that'll do me until Monday evening," he shared.