Lely’s newest pasture based automated milking customer.
With well over 40 years of farming under his belt, Graham is certain the decision to fill the pit of his 20 year old Herringbone shed and replace it with four Lely Astronaut A4 milking robots is the right one for him and his family.
No stranger to the ins and outs of farming, Graham has spent over 40 years farming in various regions of New Zealand before the decision was made to sell of the majority of his sheep and beef farm (keeping 55 hectares to use as a run-off). North bound Graham has been spending the past couple of seasons developing a 200 hectare dairy which isn’t only environmentally friendly; it’s now on its way to being future friendly. Thanks to the Lely Astronaut robotic milking system.
On his Northland dairy farm, Graham eagerly awaits the installation of his red robots to help him better monitor his 200 dairy cows, saying “the advent of higher technology and systems makes the need for automation. Individual cow analysis versus whole herd analysis is the most progressive reason behind the change to Lely robots”.
Looking at his options when it came to converting his shed, Graham chose Lely as he believed “Lely to be the more forward thinking company in comparison to its competitors. I think in a very short time everyone will need to know more about their cows and robotics allow for that”.
With four Lely Astronaut A4 robots set to be running by December the team from Lely CenterTM Waikato have been working closely with Graham to ensure he can continue to milk through his Herringbone shed, whilst his new shed is constructed and then gradually convert to his pasture based automated milking system. With his new system cows will have access to three fresh pasture blocks, via three separate races over a 24 hour period. The Lely ABC grazing system essentially gives cows’ the freedom to milk when they chose, following their natural behaviour. This results in regular visits to the milking robot, improved cow health and increased production levels.
For Graham, the advantages of having robots far exceed the ability to milk 24/7, 365 days a year. With the implementation of robots Graham will be able to tread softly on the environment, whilst boosting production levels without having to build up herd numbers. Graham says “environmentally the discharge of cow waste will be less by a large proportion. With the robots it will only be ten minutes of standing for the cows and this will lower waste material significantly”.
Planning to slowly convert to a split milking programme with the introduction of robots, Graham is excited with his target to increase his herds’ production from 60,000 Kg MS to 90,000 Kg MS a year. He will also aim to rear more calves year-round and send all replacements and beef cattle back to his run-off block, which will be made easier with a split calving system.
Big things ahead for our newest pasture based farmer, who like so many others, is seeing the benefits of converting to a pasture based automated milking system.