Bernard Heavey, Co. Offaly

x2 Lely A5 Astronaut Automatic Milking System 

bernard heavey.jpg

Bernard Heavey was an existing dairy farmer milking 130 cows on a grass-based system outside of Tullamore in Co. Offaly. In 2020 he made the decision to install a robotic milking system on his farm.

“I’ve been milking all my life, I started off with a two-unit bucket plant and then went to a six-unit parlour and then to a ten-unit parlour and now we are back to two units again with the robots” Bernard outlined.

“We decid​ed to go with the Lely robot because they are the most popular robot, there are a lot of farmers around here that have them and I was talking to them about the system and they were very happy which gave me confidence to make the change to robots” he said.

The two main reasons for deciding to go down the robotic route for Bernard were labour and to make the farm more attractive for the next generation.

“There was a big workload on this farm so the robots were installed to reduce this and that’s exactly what they have done. It’s working a dream there now” according to Bernard.

The farm operates a spring-calving grass-based system with cows calving down from early February. The robots were fitted in the spring time prior to calving which meant that all cows had to be trained to the robots after they were calved.

“If we had got the building work completed earlier, I would have liked to have got the robots installed in the back end of the year to allow cows to be trained to them at a time when things are quiet on farm but that just didn’t happen” said Bernard. “For any existing dairy farmer, it is definitely something that they should target.”

“There was a few months’ work training all the cows as they calved but since we have the cows trained and everything settled, the system runs like clockwork” Bernard explained.

Bernard has seen a big difference in the workload on his farm as a result of installing the two robots.

“The way it is now, you have a little bit of work to do in the mornings, it would probably take an hour between the jobs to be done on the robots, a quick washdown around the robots and moving strip wires for the ABC grazing system.”

He continued; “When it comes to the evening then there is very little to be done, probably about 20 minutes work and you’re not under pressure for it to be done at a certain time, you have that flexibility, it’s not like when you have a parlour and you have to be back at 4 o’clock to milk cows.”

For more information contact Lely Center Mullingar on 044 9330320