Lely Atlantis

Time span: 1999 – 2012
Picture: Veeteelt – April 2004

In 75 years of time, creativity has always been a stimulant for innovative solutions to improve farmers’ and cows’ lives. From day one, thinking outside the box made the most creative ideas evolve. Some of our ideas, however, had a different outcome on the field than initially thought. These outcomes provide valuable insights and learning opportunities to further improve our solutions.

Feeding according to customised approach

The desire to feed cows individually, and thereby contributing to animal welfare and milk production, made Lely kick off the development of Atlantis in 1999. After three prototype rounds and many learnings on cow behaviour, the conclusion had to be made that individual feeding had no future and development was stopped in 2012. The knowledge gained during the Atlantis development, turned out to be the input for our innovations still being manufactured today!    

Adding value

"Atlantis was based on providing each cow with her own ration, depending on individual feeding needs, and would not only contribute to an optimal health and energy balance but also have a positive effect on milk production", says Karel van den Berg, former Director of Lely Technologies. "We learned an awful lot on cow behaviour, providing us with valuable information used in the development of other Lely innovations. For instance: the first, round set-up made the cows repel each other too much, which did not benefit cow welfare - and thus milk production. Not knowing what feed the neighbour was having, caused unrest. A typical case of fear that the grass might be greener at the neighbour’s place!” 

In 2012 the production of Atlantis was stopped; the results envisaged in terms of cow comfort and milk production were not achieved. Karel: “We managed to redirect our thoughts on individual feeding into adding value to group feeding. In fact, before we decided to discontinue Atlantis, we already started thinking out our current Vector line. The Vector feed grabber, for instance, is based on that of the Atlantis."

Three versions

The Lely Atlantis was tested in three different versions, starting with a round set-up at which 16 cows could eat. The second version was a linear set-up, characterised by a fence, protecting the eating cow. It was installed at three farms - with cow numbers ranging from 60 to 240. Karel: "The linear Atlantis is still operational at a Dutch farm - for over 15 years now.” All learnings resulted in a final, third Atlantis version in 2009. A revolutionary design, housing 48 cows, equipped with a rotating feeding platform.

Pasture based automated milking

Perfectly suited to pastoral milking systems just like we have here, automating your milking means less labour costs and leads to more efficient milk extraction and animal knowledge.