With the countdown now into days rather than weeks, the annual trip to Balmoral Park is just around the corner.
With a show first, Michael and Martin Drayne, of Lisburn, will be bringing in 40 cows for a live robotic milking exhibition. Draynes have been milking cows for over 80 years, but never before from the temporary accommodation of Balmoral Park.
The cows will make the short journey to the show grounds this weekend to start their settling in period before the crowds of spectators arrive on the 13th May.
Visitors to the show can expect to see the cows being milked through a Lely Astronaut A4 robot like the three in operation on the home farm.
In addition to farming Michael and Martin Drayne also pasteurise milk in their own processing plant and supply to local businesses. The use of robots allows cows to milk at any stage of the day or night so has a benefit in terms of animal welfare. Low yielding cows on the farm can access grazing paddocks during the day, while still having access to the TMR in the house, and the robot to be milked when they want.
To encourage a smooth transition into their temporary accommodation the cows will receive the same Thompsons diet during their time at Balmoral. This will consist of first cut silage with blend through the TMR and as cows are milked they will be topped up with compound nuts via the robot at a feed rate which is determined by the yield of the cow.
Thompsons look forward to seeing the Lely robot in action, and wish the Draynes every success in settling the cows in to allow everyone to enjoy an insight into life on a dairy farm.