Van Leeuwen family in the Canterbury region of New Zealand currently milking 890 cows with 16 Lely Astronauts (2019). The practices of keeping cows under the roof and milking them with Lely Astronaut allows van Leeuwen family to do the farming in a sustainable, profitable and enjoyable way.

Goals of van Leeuwen family

Their goal on the farm is to breed moderate size cows that does really high production, not in the way of liters but in milk solids. They can monitor the performance of their cows on T4C. The information about individual cow and heifer from T4C along with genomic testing allows them to breed the best cows and heifers to improve the herd quality. Megan says “I think within the barn it's really important to have quality over quantity within the cows as we are putting everything into this feed and our staff is really working hard so we'd like to get as much out of the barn as we can."

Transition from conventional rotary to AMS

As per Dion, transition from conventional rotary to the Lely Automatic Milking System didn’t have a negative effect on the milk production. It actually increased the milk production because cows were fed TMR diet and because of good balance of nutritional elements in the diet, it resulted into increase in the yield. With the AMS in place they do have an opportunity to feed the cows in a proper way as per their production and it has a positive effect on the whole herd.

Cow management

Management of the Jersey cows in this system doesn't change very much to a Holstein Friesian AMS barn. The day-to-day routine is the same, the only thing different with the Jersey is they're a bit more efficient with feed conversion efficiency and in New Zealand we get paid on milk solids basis. These cows produce more milk solids as per their live weight. “Normally an outside farm would be averaging may be 20 litres a cow a day and the cows inside now are producing around 28 litres a day" -  Dion Van Leewuen.  

Finding farm workers

“It's easier for us to find workers that want to work within the robot barns compared to the outside traditional grazing system just because it's different and it's interesting” says Meg Coombs

Download the Lely Astronaut A5 brochure

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"Well I think the public's opinion is very important on dairy farms these days and I think if people can come and see the barns and how the cows are in the house system, see they're happy, they can eat whenever they want, they can lie, you know freely and get milked I think it will changed their views on dairy farming and hopefully for the better." - Meg Coombs

Dairy XL - Dion van Leeuwen and Meg Coombs (English / New Zealand)

Why Lely?

Farmers all over the world make choices about how they set up and run their farms. Every day, we help them make the best choices for themselves and their farms. We do this by providing advice and innovative solutions that contribute to efficient farm management. For sustainable milk and meat production. Present and future.