Michael & Christine Callan were milking 2 herds of cows on 2 farms – 150 at home and 300 on the out farm through a 22 and 30 unit parlour. They were having issues with mastitis as well as labour and needed change.
Way forward in terms of cow management
"We hadn’t seen any robots milking cows untill we set off to an Open Day in Kells, Co. Meath. We looked at it and the system around the grazing, were very impressed and decided it would work for us. It didn’t take us long to make up our minds - once the decision was made, the robots were bought and we installed them 3 months later in January 2017. I believed it was the way forward in terms of cow management and labour saving.” explains Michael.
"It's the best way to milk a cow and the information is phenomenal to make the daily management decisions for our herd."
"I am not big into IT or computers, I just look at what I need to see. I concentrate on milk yields and SCC to make sure there are no cows falling behind. The information is very impressive; mastitis detection, feed to yield, daily milk protein & fat indication and automatic drafting are very good,” states Michael. "Cows are currently stocked at 5 LU per hectare. They are grazing 1,400kg covers, averaging 28 litres of milk on 2.2 milkings per day. Proteins are running at 3.56% and fat 3.97%."
"Cows are very quiet and docile and move about the place at their own free will."
My farm manager, Joe McGorman does most of the robot work and we get help from my two sons; Barry and Conor at different times of the year when the pressure is on - calving, slurry, silage and reseeding. We calf approx. 450 cows in 6 weeks and calved 520 this year so we always have animals to sell. The reduction in labour has allowed us to get rid of 2 full time milkers so we’re happy with the robots.
Believe this or not, in 2018, myself and Christine went on 2 weeks holidays and Joe looked after the 450 cows on his own (on a part time basis, i.e. 5-6 hours per day). When I returned, Joe went on holidays and I looked after them myself. The 2 herds of 450 cows had 0.5 LU managing them for almost 3.5 months!" concludes Michael.
Michael and Christine Callan are milking 450 spring calving Friesian cows outside Dunleer, Co. Louth. They purchased 6 Lely A4 Robots in November 2016 and started milking in January 2017. Average milk yield is 28 litres, protein is 3.56% and 3.90% butterfat. TBCs are 3,000 and SCCs are running at 60,000 cells per ml. Cows are stocked at 5LU per hectare and the farm delivered 556kg milk solids per cow last year.