Thinking of milking with robots?
"I always knew dairy cows would be milked on our farm; I just wasn't sure whether they would be mine or the neighbours."
"I really wanted to milk cows as the returns from beef were poor, but over the years felt it was too costly to enter with quotas. Then with the quota abolition, family support and a burning desire to milk cows, we began milking last February."
David Murphy, Kilmacthomas,
“For me the key benefit is the labour saving element. This used to be a huge burden that no longer exists.”
Eric Wallace: “I always knew dairy cows would be milked on our farm; I just wasn’t sure whether they would be mine or the neighbours. Having built up a sizeable suckler beef herd of 70 Limousin cows over the years and a fulltime off farm job along with a family, spare time was scarce and with beef prices at an all-time low, I made the decision to convert to dairy and purchased a Lely Astronaut A4. The first two months were demanding, we started out with 70 cows; mainly heifers and mature cows and calved them onto the robot one by one. Thankfully they’ve settled in well. We operate an ABC grazing system, which ensures the cows are offered fresh grass every 8 hours. They’re averaging 15 litres per day at 3.8% protein and 4.4% butterfat and SCC’s at 94,000 cells/ ml on 3kg of concentrate. The Time for Cows management tool generates excellent information; from heat detection and rumination, somatic cell counter, weighing, feed to yield, daily milk protein, milk fat indication to automatic drafting. Overall I have no regrets.” says Eric.
“I really wanted to milk cows as the returns from beef were poor, but over the years felt it was too costly to enter with quotas. Then with the quota abolition, family support and a burning desire to milk cows, we began milking last February. We enjoy attending GAA and rugby matches and didn’t want to be tied to twice a day milking. We chose Lely as they provide a lot of knowledge and support, particularly when it comes to grazing. Our first year has been demanding we started out with 70 cows; it took both us and the cows awhile to get used to the system and the Grazeway gates. Now we understand the system and the cows are moving very well on an AB grazing system. Our intention is to expand to 120 cows over the coming years. The increase in cow numbers is not worrying me, bar the calving there shouldn’t be any more work. The information generated from the management tool is powerful and allows me to react where necessary.” concludes Liam.
David Murphy: “We installed the first Lely Astronaut robot in the South East in January 2013, milking 73 Pedigree Holstein cows. While researching I noticed that Lely seemed to be one of the only companies’ committed to robotic milking on a grazing farm. In the beginning I was nervous but after the first year when I realised the milk yield hadn’t dropped it gave me huge comfort. My aim is to maximise the potential of the system and have a steady flow of milk throughout the year. I am on a winter milk contract with the local creamery. This system has its challenges in a conventional system, for me the key benefit of automatic milking is the labour saving element. 2013 was the first Christmas day in over 30 years that I didn’t have to milk the cows. Labour used to be a huge burden now that no longer exists! The reliability of the machine and the information it provides me with, far outweighs any other options that were available to me.’’ smiles David.
Eric, Liam and David invite you to attend their Open Days
Tues 24th Oct 11am-4 pm
The farm will be signposted from the R498; the Borrisoleigh - Nenagh road
Wed 25th Oct 11am-4 pm
The farm will be signposted from the R391; Mullingar - Horseleap road.
Rathmaiden Farm, Kilmacthomas, Co. Waterford
Thurs 26th Oct 11am-4 pm
The farm will be signposted from all major routes close to farm location.
For further details please contact:
Niall Mc Gauran Lely Center Mullingar 086 4178424
David Redmond Lely Center Enniscorthy 087 2587861