Tyrone farmer breaking milk harvest records with DeLaval robotics

Drew McConnell, in the milking area where he has installed a DeLaval Voluntary Milking System.
Drew McConnell, in the milking area where he has installed a DeLaval Voluntary Milking System.

Dairy harvest figures are being smashed in in Ireland and the UK with Omagh based farmer, Drew McConnell, setting new records in terms of milk return from his 160 strong dairy Holstein herd.

On April 25th, the average milk yield from 57 cows was 50kg per animal from 2.7 milkings over that 24 hour period. This resulted in a 2,848kg harvest over the 24 period, an incredible return by European or indeed global dairy standards. This is not a one-off for Drew, earlier in the year he peaked at 2,955kg in a day.

Drew, who is third generation of McConnells on the farm in the townland of Carrigans which is halfway between Newtownstewart and Omagh, said that the DeLaval VMS (Voluntary Milking System) has been an unprecedented success since its installation in December 2014.

“We installed the VMS with Free Cow Traffic in December 2014 principally to reduce milking time and increase milk harvest. We knew our higher yielding cows would benefit from extra milkings and we looked at a wide range of options on the market.

“I can safely say that the DeLaval VMS has exceeded all our expectations. I’m extremely pleased with our milk harvest, our herd is performing really well and animals have adjusted to the robot with ease,” said Drew.

Drew runs the 300 acre farm with his wife, Val, and the couple have three daughters who also help out when at home. They keep 130 ewes and 20 suckler cows for some variety. Calving season runs from August to May with the summer months set aside for harvesting silage.

“The tremendous success of a farmer like Drew McConnell isn’t just down to the DeLaval VMS. It’s a testament to his farm’s ability to achieve the right balance of precise herd and milking management, efficient on farm practices, including animal welfare as a priority, performance goals, and integrated business tools,” said Kieran FitzGerald, VMS Solutions Manager, UK and Ireland.

“I’m not aware of any other robot in Ireland or the UK producing a comparable daily average harvest. VMS producers around the world are proving to us that there is no limit to what robotic technology can do. DeLaval is excited to be at the heart of the discussion on integrated dairy robotics and playing its role in improving the sector,” concluded Mr FitzGerald