Lisburn farmer lowers cost of milk production with Lely Astronauts

The Lely Robots have led to a lower cost of production for Alan Porter
The Lely Robots have led to a lower cost of production for Alan Porter

Alan Porter milks the 270 cow Drumport Holsteins herd outside Lisburn through four Lely Astronaut A5s.

They were installed in early 2019.

“Before I installed the robots it took up to four hours to milk in the old parlour. I needed hired help which added up to two full labour units. Now I can run the entire herd with one part time person which helps to reduce costs.

“I knew the cows had potential to produce more milk, however I was surprised by how good the results have been. Feed efficiency has gone from 0.43 kg per litre to 0.37 kg per litre and yields have increased from around 29 litres to 34 litres. I expect the herd to gain one or two more litres this winter.

“Cows have a more even body condition and with the reproduction technology monitoring the cows every 20 minutes, fertility is also improving, it’s also very useful for picking up silent heats. The rumination and cell counter features will quickly identify any cows that have started to become sick allowing early treatment with better success.

“I’ve also installed four Lely Cosmix out of parlour feeders and the Juno feed pusher. I use the out of parlour feeders to top up higher yielding cows. The Juno helps keep feed pushed up every two hours. I can see the cows going forward to the feed fence when the Juno passes. It does maximise feed intake and efficiency.

“I aim to keep 230 to 240 cows milking on the robots all year round. The cows are well trained and milking well so I currently only collect five to six cows per day, there’s usually a good reason such as lameness or cows away bulling. I feel through the advanced Lely technology, I have a greater individual and in depth knowledge of my cows.

“All jobs around the yard can be done in about five hours a day by one person, I definitely don’t miss the parlour. I’ve all these benefits plus my cost of production per litre is actually lower,” concluded Alan.

The results on this farm are exceptional and if maintained will result in the Lely Astronaut’s paying for themselves, with the additional benefit of efficiency gains. However, results will vary from farm to farm. To find out more call Lely Center Eglish on 02837548228.

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. 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.