Lely New Zealand is answering some frequently asked questions on pasture based grazing and robotic milking below.

1. Do robots work on a pasture based system?
Robotic milking and pasture go hand in hand and have been proven successful time and time again. Lely pioneered the ABC grazing system more than 15 years ago and by far most of our installations in New Zealand are pasture based systems.

The Lely Astronaut milking robot is custom build to the farmers specification depending on cow type and what features a farmer requires. Suitable to all farm types Lely Astronaut can be configured to a range of options to ensure you reach your on-farm goals, such as; reproduction choice, cow health choice, udder control choice, feed choice and of course a grazing choice to support your grazing strategy.

2. When was the first robot installed in New Zealand?
In 2008 Lely installed 4 Astronaut milking robots on a pasture based farm in Canterbury. This was the first commercial sale of any robotic milking system in New Zealand. On a global level the first ever milking robot was installed by Lely in the Netherlands in 1992. Lely leads the way in robotic milking technology and is the best partner for you.

3. What information do the robots provide?

  • Fat and protein indication per cow
  • Fat to protein ratio
  • Conductivity per quarter
  • Colour of milk per quarter
  • Somatic Cell Count indication
  • Rumination monitoring
  • Live weight measurement
  • Milk temperature
  • Milk speed
  • Precision lactation based feeding
  • Number of milkings per cow
  • Milk production/cow/day
  • Fat and protein corrected milk
  • Cow location
  • Automatic Heat detection

4. Can robots be installed in my existing shed?
Simple answer is yes, depending on whether or not there is adequate roof height for robot placement and pre-milk collection yard space.

5. Do cows become wild with less human interaction?
Experience shows that with even the most content herds, cows in robotic milking systems have the potential to become more relaxed and easier to manage. This is due to free cow traffic systems and cows having the freedom to choose their own milking times and cows can avoid higher ranking animals which cause a lot of stress in a herd. This system allows all cows to realise their full potential and offers a stress free and more natural environment for a cow.

6. How do you manage treatment or separation milk cows?
Colostrum cows or cows on milk separation can remain in the main herd. When such a cow is milked in the robot the milk is diverted to a diverted to a 2nd milk tank or collection buckets and the robot is rinsed post milking to ensure no contamination between cows. Once the withholding period has finished the cow’s milk will then be automatically sent back to the main consumable milk tank.

7. Where is the nearest service agent?
Lely New Zealand has dedicated fully trained network of technical and farm management specialists throughout the country. All of which are 100% focused on robotic milking systems - Find your local Lely Dealer

8. Is my current farm layout suitable for robots?
In most cases farm layouts are suitable for Lely robotic milking systems. One of our Farm Management specialists will visit your farm to determine the suitability and provide a personalised design and layout to suit your farm, as every farm is different.

9. How does Lely support on-farm setups?
Making the transition to automatic milking is not for the short term. Precisely because it is for the long run and for the continuity of your business, we offer thorough guidance to all of our customers worldwide when it comes to making the right choices. We also help you to prepare for this new way of working. We do this in 3 phases:

Before start-up: guidance during run-up to start-up based on a proven concept and in close collaboration with your feed advisor and other advisors.

During start-up: practical help by guiding the cows to go to the automatic milking system the first time. And technical support for the actual installation of the equipment.

After start-up: guidance and support to further optimise the management of your farm.

10. How does Lely offer service?

Our robotic milking farmers need to be able to rely on your machines all the time. Every day of the week, 365 days a year. With Lely’s team of service technicians, you are guaranteed optimum use of Lely products.

Technicians pay you regular visits for periodic maintenance. They can be there quickly in the event of any possible malfunction. Regardless of the date or time, you have support 24/7.

Every dairy farmer who makes the transition to automatic milking or feeding receives guidance, both from a technical and a management aspect. This guidance is provided before, during and after the installation/start-up of the automatic systems. This occurs in accordance with a pre-established structured plan. This means that you know what to expect and you can rely on optimal performance from our products from the very start.

During this process, service technicians work closely with their colleagues from Farm Management Support. They get advice and training on the use of our automatic cow, work and management systems.

Even after installation and start-up you can continue to rely on the technician for questions on usage and technical optimisation.

While the system is in operation, the service technician pays regular visits to your farm for preventive maintenance. Prevention is better than cure. With preventive maintenance you avoid unexpected faults and large-scale maintenance works stay under control. This makes usage costs easier to predict and manage.

In the event of a technical problem, you receive an automatic alarm signal. If you are unable to resolve the fault, the technician is on call. The technician can be there quickly.

11. Can I visit a Lely Astronaut farm in New Zealand?
Yes of course you can! With a nationwide network of Lely Center and Lely Astronaut farms, your local Lely Center representative would be more than happy to setup a farm visit for you. Request an farm visit today at: