Farm Management Support (FMS) is currently one of the fastest-growing teams in Lely, however it is also one of its best kept secrets. “Many don’t fully realise the value of this pre-sales and after-care customer service team,” says FMS Lead and veterinary adviser Mike Steele.
The FMS offering is unique to Lely, he explains. As well as involvement in a farm’s transition to automated milking, Mike and his colleagues offer an invaluable after-care service and can help iron out any problems.
“We are involved before set-up to make sure the farmer knows how to work the products and software. We also oversee that the farm is set up correctly. We will go through all the details to enable true Free Cow Traffic such as making sure the aisles are the correct width, that there is enough access to the feed fence and water and that cows can always see the robot.
“We make sure that the parameters for the cows are set up correctly such as the brush heights are right for each cow. Basically, we make sure the products fit the cow.
"While the sales people are involved in advising customers of the right products for them, the FMS team focus on making sure the products are right for the cow,” says Mike.
“We are the only robotic company that provides this level of support.”
Mike heads up the central Lely Atlantic FMS team, but there are also FMS staff embedded in each of the Lely Centers, he explains.
The support doesn’t stop once the robots are up and running, he continues. “We have a continuing lifelong connection. Farmers can phone their Center and ask for help at any time.
“We would then go out and investigate any issues. It might be something that can be solved simply by changing settings on the machine. Depending on the issue we might get the engineers or the farm vet or nutritionist involved.”
Mike and his team can help with numerous different issues such as mastitis or cell count problems or where the system isn’t working optimally and needs investigation.
“One example is a customer who was having to collect 40 cows for milking twice a day. Something was not right and he was understandably getting fed up about it.
“The FMS team went out to the farm to find the cows were producing just 21 litres/day with the yield per robot at 1000 litres/day which was much lower than it should have been. They were also averaging only 2.1 milkings per day when you would expect 2.8 to 3.2.
“After some detective work we changed the diet, reducing the amount of concentrates fed through the robots to encourage the cow to eat the cheaper and healthier food at the feed fence.
“Within a day, visits to the robot were up and the farmer had fewer cows to collect. After 10 days the cows were averaging 2.7 milkings with only four refusals. Yield had increased to 27 litres plus he was using less of the expensive food. After 14 days average yield was up to 33 litres with the cows visiting 3 times a day.
“We recommend that our customers stay in touch with their Lely Center and talk through any issues, however small, before they become a problem.
“Lely has invested heavily in this type of support for our customers with the FMS team increasing by 50% in the past year. We recognise that the move to robotic milking is a huge decision and change for farmers. This makes our service particularly important and one that can make a huge difference for our farmers and their experience of automation.”
Visit Automatic milking - management system - barn automation - Lely for more information about Farm Management or contact your Local Lely Center.