Andrew Knox and his father milk 150 cows outside Dungannon.
The 305-day herd average is 10,658 litres per cow with fat of 3.8 and protein of 3.20. They are milked through two Lely A4’s with out of parlour feeders, a discovery slat scraper and Juno feed pusher completing the Lely line-up on the farm.
“I was milking three times a day, which I know was worth around 15% extra milk yield. However, I was struggling to get help to milk in our old parlour, especially at the weekends and it was difficult to get any quality time with my family. I didn’t want to go back to two times a day milking and suffer a decrease in milk yield, so I looked at robotic milking in 2017. We decided on Lely as they have the longest established milking robot and an excellent backup and support team,” commented Andrew.
“The main benefits of the Lely Astronaut I’ve seen are, better cow performance and health and better human health. Feed efficiency has gone from 0.45 kg per litres of milk to 0.37 kg per litre of milk which is calculated to be worth around £25,000 per year, plus cow body condition is more even.
“We do make our own high-quality silage which is an essential part of achieving better feed efficiency. The T4C farm and robot management software has helped me to quickly identity efficient and inefficient cows to make culling and breeding decisions, my herd average was 9,000 litres now the herd’s doing 10,658 litres.
“The cows are much calmer and are less stressed, plus the heat detection system is very good, and fertility is much better, I’ve a calving index of 382 days.
“I aim to have as many cows as possible on the Lely Astronaut all the time, so I target milk speed in my breeding policy.
“When I have a lot of cows calved, I increase the milk access setting to cope with it, I’ve had 134 cows milking on the two robots last winter.
“It’s been a total change in the way we farm and lifestyle for the better, I’ve more time for family and less pressure,” commented Andrew.
“We have limited enough feed space and before the Lely Juno was installed, we were pushing feed five or six times a day.
“It’s now set to push every hour except during feeding, it keeps the feed pushed up and tidier, it saves me about an hour a day,” concluded Andrew.
Lely Juno ‘Try
Before You Buy’ Offer
The first generation of the Lely Juno was launched 10 years ago, the third generation was launched in 2018 with significant improvements.
It can push feed 24/7 helping to increase intakes and performance.
It is especially beneficial for freshly calved cows, less dominant cows and heifers who typically visit the feed fence after the more dominant cows have finished.
Farms with limited feed space and little time to push feed will see the highest benefit. A recent study published by Siewert etal in the Journal of Dairy Science in 2018, reported some farms achieved up to 4.9kg per day extra milk yield with robotic feed pushing.
Visit lely.com/gb/solutions/feeding/juno for more information on the Juno or lely.com/gb/feed-gap to find out more about how to assess if a feed gap is affecting your livestock performance.
For the average dairy farm in Northern Ireland the Lely Juno could pay for itself within a few years. Lely Center Eglish have a limited special offer available now of ‘try before you buy.’ Farmers who are interested in trying the Lely Juno robotic feed pusher should phone the office. A member of the sales team will then call out to look at the sheds and do a quick suitability assessment.
If the farm is suitable the Juno can be installed for one month for free, it will be switched off at the end of the one month. The farmer can then judge the effect of it on their own farm and decide then if they want to keep it or not.
For more information call Lely Center Eglish on 02837548228.