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We believe cows should have free access to milking at all times. For cows to be able to visit the robot regularly, it is important that they can rest sufficiently and relieve pressure on their feet and legs. So, if we restrict one or more of these basic needs (such as standing on concrete waiting to be milked twice daily) this will affect cow behaviour and subsequently milk production. By removing milking restrictions and offering the cow unlimited access to her basic needs without restriction, she has the freedom to do what feels natural for her. The Lely Astronaut is designed from this point of view.
Robotic milking is different from conventional milking in many ways. One of the main differences is that cows can be milked more in line with their natural behaviour. They are free to graze, to milk, to rest – naturally. To maximise this concept our robot box ensures cows are milked in optimal conditions with as few obstacles as possible - no farmer intervention, no barking dogs, no motorbikes, no pressure. The Lely Astronaut features a walk-through box design, called the I-flow concept. Thanks to this the cow walks straight in and out of the milking box, without having to make any turns. Thus, making visits to the milking box easier for the cow and in-turn increasing throughput and capacity of the robot.
Cows are highly motivated by feed, which makes the prospect of visiting the milking robot for a supply of concentrate feed within the box very enticing. By customizing the concentrate on an individual cow basis, you can adjust quantities based on her stage of lactation and production performance. Additionally, a new strip of pasture every 8 hours motivates the cows to move freely to the shed for milking. Consequently, they consume more pasture, produce more milk, and willingly return to the milking robot when ready for milking.
Lifetime production of your herd has the potential to increase with the Lely Astronaut, due to the cows’ ability to stay on-farm for longer, due to less stress on their udder to produce milk.