Frazer Bloor is a 4th Generation dairy farmer, farming around 82 ha’s in the heart of Market Drayton, Shropshire.
Why we installed the robots?
The robots were introduced on the farm around 10 years ago switching from a traditional parlour to automation. “The old parlour was showing age and one of the main reasons for going onto the robots was labour”. Labour crisis was a big hit in the dairy industry and Frazer and his family made the decision to switch to automation due to finding reliable staff to continue to the day-to-day jobs as well as milking the cows twice per day on the conventional parlour. Frazer is putting 180 British Friesians crossed with Jersey cows through 3 A4 robots. Frazer uses the A-B-C system which is a New Zealand style system which has worked well for Ambleside Lodge for over 30 years.
“Another reason for the robots was the amount of data we can get on individual cows for monitoring and health performance”. Data collection is important to Frazer and by switching to automation it has enhanced the level of detail that can be used to analyse the cow’s health, reproduction, and milk yields. “It was the right decision going on robots, as the amount of information we can get off each individual cow is unbelievable”.
The support of Lely Midlands
Frazer has been guided with the help of Lely Midlands with the installation of the robots with 24/7 access to service support to make the transition flowing and ensure the cows move freely through the robots which took less than three days. “The initial change onto the robots wasn’t painful, and we had two different teams a day team and a night team”. By installing the robots at Ambleside, it has allowed freedom within the family with Frazer’s dad being a main participant in milking on the conventional parlour, this has allowed Frazer and his dad to focus on other projects. Ambleside lodge are an all-year-round calving system so being able to have that support from Lely Midlands 24/7 has allowed for the robots to work smoothly to ensure each cow is milked when needed. “They support from Lely Midlands has been great, even from the startup date, it was the most important day, and they sent a few members of staff out, with us having 3 robots, it was quite a busy day, so we spilt the herd into 3 groups and pushed each group individually through the robots”.
Grazing with robots
Grazing was a big concern when installing the robots, Frazer and his dad were not sure they robots would fit in with their A-B-C grazing system. Lely Midlands organised a trip to Ireland to put the Bloor family at ease by visiting 4 farms that has adapted their grazing system with Automation. “Most of the farms were on a 3-paddock system, they were grazing the cows on the robots using the graze way system, we could see they worked really well, so we thought why it can’t work over here, back in England, so we brough it back here the idea, and put it into operation, there is 3 8-hour paddocks”. By doing this Frazer installed a Lely Graze way which allows the cows to enter the yard for milking on the robots and access housing but also have the freedom to graze when needed meeting all the fundamental of “free cow traffic”.