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22Ward Emma and Rob Ward with Fredie, Billy and Immi, and FMS, Sam Hargreaves and Izzy Lester copy.jpg
The Ward family, Emma and Rob with Fredie, Billy and Immi, and FMS Sam Hargreaves and Izzy Lester

Farm Management Support: helping you optimise your business and results

Rob and Emma Ward, Tern Hill, Shropshire: 180 cow herd 

Swapping parlour for robots can be a daunting prospect. Rest assured, Lely offers comprehensive assistance throughout the transition period and beyond including the provision of a Farm Management Support (FMS) advisor. Lely Center Midlands FMS, Sam Hargreaves and Izzy Lester summarise their roles.

Once the shed design and layout have been agreed, we visit the farm with the Center’s project coordinator to meet and greet you and explain our offer both pre and post switch on. We sometimes get involved behind the scenes at design level to assess layout from a cow’s perspective. 

We revisit and hand over the Lely desk top computer, set up the Horizon software programme, check the settings and without wishing to encourage information overload, we explain the basics and how to use. 

Once the robots have been installed, we’re present on startup day to help supervise each cow coming into the box; we map each one linking her collar responder number to her udder scan. If necessary, we help drive the robot arm to find the teats. Yes, it can be a very long day, however we return the following day to provide support when the teat brushes are introduced.

We routinely revisit five days later, however in the meantime, we speak every day and if further assistance or reassurance is required then we visit.

Once you feel ready for more information about Horizon and how to use, we return and provide further training. We monitor the herd’s various KPIs as reflected in the dashboards, we process that data, make recommendations for improved performance and we’re able to set goals.

After care is such a big area, however, we’re here to proactively build a long-term relationship with you, offering advice and training to help you optimise your business. We are only a phone call away.
“We had a very tired 1970’s parlour and finding the right staff was becoming increasingly difficult, so we agreed to invest in three Lely A5 robots. Initially, we did have a lot of concerns, from the cows adopting to robot milking to computers - since I’m not computer literate I didn’t want to go near one,” says Rob. 

“Then we were introduced to FMS and Sam Hargreaves; she helped so much through the transition – the two weeks pre and after startup; she talked us through preparation, from clipping tails and udders to setting up Horizon. Despite the doom and gloom we’d heard, those first and second milkings went very smoothly. We never had a refusal.”

Emma continues: “Since switch on in February 2021, Sam is on speed dial; no matter how big or small the issue whether it’s feeding or management, nothing is too much trouble for her to pick up either on the phone, remote screen sharing or visit. 

“If Sam isn’t available, then Izzy is designated to step in. We couldn’t do without their FMS support. Lely is at the top of the tree and we’re thrilled with the robot benefits including a 35% yield increase to just over 11,000 litres while CI has improved from 450 to 360 days.”