10,000 kg average on Lely robot grazing system at Stewartstown

Lely Center Eglish will be hosting a series of virtual open days during July and August focusing on grazing farms.

Monday, 5th July 2021, 8:57 am
Farmers are invited to register for a Lely virtual open day on the farm of Alvar Mc Keown on 7th July 1pm
Farmers are invited to register for a Lely virtual open day on the farm of Alvar Mc Keown on 7th July 1pm

The first event is on July 7th at 1pm online, with a c. 20-minute pre-recorded video featuring a tour of the farm with questions and answers followed by live Q&A at the end.

This event is on the farm of Alvar McKeown from Stewartstown, who runs 90 cows on one Lely Astronaut A3 with an average 305-day yield of 10,000 kg. The other farmers who will feature over

the coming weeks are Fergal Kelly from Ballygawley, who runs 80 cows on one Lely Astronaut A5 with a 305-day yield of 8,200 kg, William Shilliday from Rathfriland who runs 120 cows on two Lely Astronaut A4’s with a 305 day yield of 8,000 kg and Stephen Hunter from Ramelton, Donegal who runs 130 cows on two Lely Astronaut A4’s with a yield of 7,500 kg per cow.

The farms run different grazing systems. One uses the separation gate at the robot, with grazing during the day and housed at night, i.e. A grazing, B housed system, another farmer has a similar set up but uses a grazeway. Another grazes full time in two 12 hour blocks with free access buffer feeding, i.e. AB grazing, C free access anytime to cubicles and silage. Finally, one grazes in three 8 hour blocks, i.e. ABC grazing full time. The flexibility of the Lely software system allows full customisation of access times to ensure the most efficient use of facilities, grass and cow performance on each farm.

The first open day on Alvar McKeown’s farm shows the potential of what can be achieved on the Lely Astronaut milking robot.

The herd averages 10,000 kgs, 4.2 butterfat, 3.3 protein, i.e. 750kg of milk solids per cow year. The daily output for the robot ranges from 2,000 ltrs to 2,800 ltrs per day on a diet of silage, grass and meal with a feed rate of about 0.3kg per litre.

Alvar commented: “I like to keep things simple, I don’t use a diet feeder, I just use out-of-parlour feeders instead. The grazing system is a two paddock AB set-up with free access buffer feeding with silage, I let the cows decide if they want to stay in or go out to grass. Fresh grass is allocated by the robot at 1pm and 1am, I just have two fences to move just like in a conventional system.

“Milk speed is one of the most important things I breed for the last 10 years, it ranges from 3 to 3.4 kg per minute. Along with a milk access setting of 11kg this has allowed me to increase the number of cows on the Lely Astronaut from 70 to 90, this helps me maximise output from the robot. The system also gives me flexibility in my daily work,” concluded Alvar.

To find out more on how Alvar Mc Keown is achieving these excellent results from grass, register for the event on July 7th at 1pm, visit https://www.lely.com/gb/centers/eglish/ the social media channels or call the office on 02837548228.