Lely Astronaut A5 takes centre stage

Tommy Armstrong, left, Lely Center Eglish, is pictured with Darren Hughes from Glenvale Farms, Madden, Armagh, who has recently purchased the 100th Lely Astronaut A5 sold in Northern Ireland. Pictures: Julie Hazelton
Tommy Armstrong, left, Lely Center Eglish, is pictured with Darren Hughes from Glenvale Farms, Madden, Armagh, who has recently purchased the 100th Lely Astronaut A5 sold in Northern Ireland. Pictures: Julie Hazelton

First introduced in 2014 and Lely’s live milking demonstration continued to be one of the main attractions for visitors at Balmoral Show.

This year’s demonstration featured Lely’s Astronaut A5 robot and 40 pedigree Holstein cows from the McCullough family’s Racavan Herd based at Broughshane. Visitors also had an opportunity to sample locally-made ice-cream from Draynes Farm where the cows are milked by three Lely robots.

Jim Irwin, Lely Center Eglish, is pictured with Ahoghill dairy farmers Victor and John Turtle. Picture: Julie Hazelton

Jim Irwin, Lely Center Eglish, is pictured with Ahoghill dairy farmers Victor and John Turtle. Picture: Julie Hazelton

“We welcomed tens of thousands of visitors to the stand during the four-day show,” explained Lely Center Eglish director Jim Irwin. “The A5 was officially unveiled in Northern Ireland at last year’s 150th Balmoral Show, and since then it has generated record sales. In less than twelve months we have sold 100 Lely Astronaut A5 robots.”

Lely is a world leader and has been manufacturing robotic milking technology for more than 25 years. The latest A5 model features cutting edge technology designed to deliver improved performance and efficiency.

The 100th A5 was purchased by Darren Hughes from Glenvale Farms at Madden near Armagh. He runs a 65-cow pedigree and commercial dairy herd in conjunction with a liquid waste recycling business.

Lely Center Eglish salesman Tommy Armstrong, who joined the company in August last year, said the Astronaut A5 is another success story for Lely. “It offers improved energy efficiency, enhanced cow comfort, and a faster hybrid arm. The hybrid arm is silent, faster and more accurate; while the Teat Detection System (TDS) optimises udder hygiene by offering improved pre-scanning ahead of post milking spraying.”

Darren Hughes is currently completing building work on a new shed, and is looking forward to getting the A5 installed on his County Armagh farm.

He said: “Robotic milking will be a huge step forward compared to our existing six-point parlour.

“The robot will help to maximise herd performance, as its technology will allow each cow to be managed individually and fed according to yield. The cows have the potential to produce more milk, and we are excited about the changes that lie ahead in the coming months.”

Darren confirmed he had researched various brands of milking robots, but opted for Lely because of its unrivalled reputation, and the fact that the company specialises solely in cutting-edge robotic technololgy.

Lely Center Eglish, operated by Jim and Jenny Irwin, celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2018. When the company was launched there were 36 Lely robots operating in Northern Ireland. Today, there are more than 300 Astronaut milking robots milking over 16,000 cows in the province.

To find out more about Lely’s range of labour saving robotic technology contact Lely Center Eglish on tel: 028 3754 8228, or Jim Irwin on mobile: 07827 884639.