In 2011, four experienced farming families joined together to form Majestic Crossing Dairy. Milking more than 2,000 cows in two separate sites — Highland Crossing Dairy and Majestic Meadows Dairy — this partnership allowed these families to expand and manage a sustainable operation.
After spending a year planning, construction began in 2017 to house 13 Lely Astronaut A5 robotic milking systems in the free stall barn on the Majestic Meadows Dairy site. The Lely Astronaut appealed to Darin Strauss of Majestic Crossing Dairy because it gives him the ability to manage cows, not only in groups, but individually as well.
"Why robots? It's the best way to milk cows going forward. It creates the best environment for our cows, where a cow can just be a cow. Where she's on her own clock," Darin said.
Lely Robots Enhance Cow Welfare
The dairy’s staff noticed a distinct change in the herd's disposition after the robots were installed. Each cow has a calmer, friendlier demeanor, which ultimately makes them easier to work with. Darin also appreciates the herd management capabilities the Lely robots provide.
“You get the opportunity to manage cows as individuals in a group setting,” Darin said.
Transitioning to Robotic Milking
Transitioning from the milking parlor to robotic milking was fairly easy for the operation and was done in three waves. Not only did the cows continue to learn the process, but management knew what to expect and adjusted to optimize the second and third waves.
While many farms choose cow pellets to draw cows to the robot, the staff at Majestic Crossing Dairy utilize a grain mix for their cows. By November of 2017, the entire herd was being milked with Lely Astronauts. Majestic Crossing Dairy also acquired a Lely Juno automatic feed pusher, which allows for increased feed pushing frequency as well as reduced labor requirements.
Lely Farm Management Support Leads to Optimized Results
The team at Majestic Crossing Dairy is also very appreciative of the Lely Farm Management Support (FMS) they have received from their local Lely Center. Their experienced FMS advisor was there to help with the startup process as well as work with them to optimize their Lely robots. Darin and his team feel reassured knowing that Lely support is only a phone call away.
“FMS means that you know you have support, that if you run into trouble you have some eyes who have seen things on different dairies that can complement your facility,” Darin said.