Ben and Amber Rein are fifth-generation dairy farmers in Lanesboro, Minnesota. A few years ago, Rein Farms had 60 cows and one Lely Astronaut A4 robotic milking system. In just a few short years, their herd has more than doubled. Today, the Reins use two Lely Astronaut A4s and one Lely Vector automatic feeding system to help feed and maintain their herd of 150 dairy cows.

“We added a Lely Vector in 2018 and it improved our free cow traffic system,” said Ben Rein. Free cow traffic allows for the cows to come and go as they please, making sure they are well-fed day in and day out.

Ben and Amber were more than happy to take over the farm and continue to run the family operation.

“I love the life of being a dairy farmer because you’re right at your home,” Ben explained. “I don’t have to drive into work, my kids are out there helping me.”

For the Reins, adding Lely robots has allowed for more family time.

“We went from spending three or more hours a day on feeding alone to about 15 minutes to check the data without sacrificing cow comfort and health.”

Why Rein Chose Lely Milking Robots and Automated Feeding Systems

A number of factors went into Ben’s decision to add Lely robots to Rein Farms.

“I chose Lely robots because I wanted to use sand bedding and other robots did not recommend using sand,” said Rein. “Our neighbors had put in Lely robots and had great success and we saw the support they received.” Ben added, “Another reason I chose Lely, was their extensive company history, their customer service and reputation of the company.”

Dairy Robot Technical Support Every Step of the Way

For help and technical support, the Reins know Lely and their local Lely Center will be there to assist. “If I have any questions at all on rations or how I should set up the feed fence, they are always available,” explained Rein. “My Lely Center will be here within an hour if I have a problem.”

Ben’s local Lely Center can even remote access his computer to run diagnostics and make sure systems are running efficiently.

“Once a week, the Lely Center will call me to let me know if I have a problem,” said Rein. “Sometimes I don’t even know I have a problem and they do, so they come and fix it.”

As Ben found out, assistance with his Lely robots reaches far beyond the local Lely Centers. “I had a computer go down overnight and a team from the Netherlands had it fixed by the next morning,” explained Rein. Lely’s journey with each dairy operation begins at the purchase. The company is committed to providing the best consultative services to dairy farmers all across North America. “It gives you peace of mind knowing the equipment is running twenty-four hours a day," said Rein.

Superior Dairy Farm Management

Lely robots have helped the Rein family save time and money. “The robots have made it possible to enjoy other parts of our lives,” said Rein. “My life with the Vector and the Astronauts has been better.” As for Ben, who prefers to work on equipment himself, he found that adding robots gives him the necessary time to keep the rest of his farm equipment up and running. “I do all my own mechanic work,” Ben explained. “Now that I have a little more time, I don’t have to bring equipment to the dealership, I can just repair it myself and do more maintenance on it.” Working on his own equipment also reduces the operation’s costs.

Ben has saved fuel costs as a result of the Lely Vector. “We used to spend $2,000 a month on diesel running the skid loader and mixing tractor,” said Rein. Running equipment multiple times a day adds up. The Lely Vector has also increased feed efficiency with its consistent feed pushing, which has helped to decrease overall feed costs for the Reins.

Automated Feeding Allows More Time for the Little Things

The addition of Lely robots has given Ben the opportunity to focus on improving his dairy operation. “On the feed management end, the Vector has provided more time to do a lot of feed sampling so we can adjust dry matter and different feed quality is because we’re not as busy mixing feed,” explained Ben. “We can take a sample, test it, and change the ration right on the computer.” The Reins have been able to control costs while maximizing cow comfort, ensuring each cow gets the necessary nutrient intake.

Before Lely robots, Ben spent a large part of his day feeding cows. Switching to Lely automation allowed the cows to be fed on time with more consistency.

“What intrigued me about robot feeding is the consistency,” explained Rein. “The cows get fed every hour and the Lely Vector pushes the feed every hour.”

Ben noted how the cows have an excellent diet. A diet that is probably better than most humans’ diets. The cows at Rein Farms can also be milked more consistently.

The free cow traffic barns allow the cows to be milked and fed on their terms. “Our cows can eat, drink, sleep twenty-four hours a day,” said Rein. “They can go to the robot in the middle of the night – or whenever they want.”

Farm Details

Ben Rein and his wife Amber are fifth-generation dairy farmers in Lanesboro, Minnesota. After starting with one Lely Astronaut A4, he added a second robotic milking system a year later, followed by a Lely Vector automatic feeding system in 2018. The Lely robots help Rein Farms feed and milk 150 cows daily.

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.