independent

Wednesday 23 October 2019

Robotic milking event is a great success

At the Lely Center Enniscorthy Robotic milking open day on Gerald and Henry Dunne’s farm in Bree were Tom O’Leary, centre, (General Manager of Lely Center Enniscorthy) with Gerald and Henry Dunne
At the Lely Center Enniscorthy Robotic milking open day on Gerald and Henry Dunne’s farm in Bree were Tom O’Leary, centre, (General Manager of Lely Center Enniscorthy) with Gerald and Henry Dunne

Brendan Keane

An open day event in Enniscorthy aimed at showcasing robotic milking technology was a great success with around 400 people attending.

The event was organised and hosted by the Lely Center Enniscorthy in association with Bank of Ireland.

The event attracted people from all over the south east and took place on the farm of Gerald and Henry Dunne, in Enniscorthy.

The Dunnes have made a successful transition from parlour to robotic milking with the full operation visible under one expansive shed.

Prior to installing a Lely Astronaut Robotic milking system the Dunne family was once-a-day milking in a 12-unit herringbone parlour.

Labour saving was a huge motivational driver for the father-and-son duo and with that in mind three Lely A5 Astronaut milking robots were supplied by Lely Center Enniscorthy and installed on the farm in November, 2018.

Milking began in January this year with cows housed indoors fulltime and fed with zero grazed grass.

Speaking about the effect the robotic system had on their yield Henry Dunne said: 'Transitioning to our new system has allowed us to produce more milk per cow from the same acreage, with milk solids already exceeding our 2018 figures.'

Mr Dunne said they milked 170 cows 'at max' this spring and they plan to increase this to 195 cows, with an output up to 8000L, in the next two years.

'Our animals have adapted extremely well to the system and their contentment is clearly visible,' he said.

'Work life balance has always been a key driver for us and the Lely A5 Robots, Lely Discovery scraper, and the Juno feed pusher have allowed us to achieve this effectively,' he added.

A spokesperson for the Lely Center commented on the open day and said 'the resounding message was that there are huge benefits to be gained from robotic milking but only if you identify a system which best suits your individual needs'.

A number of speakers from Lely Center gave an insight into robotic milking and the process involved from start-up to post installation. A range of topics were discussed including yard planning and design, milk data analysis, and animal nutrition.

The newly appointed dedicated Farm Management Support Advisor, Catherine Heffernan, spoke at the event and said her main aim will be to assist farmers in their transition to robotic milking and help them set out and achieve their goals.

'The approach is to evaluate each individual farm, troubleshoot any problems which may occur, and help farmers make practical improvements in areas such as animal nutrition, cow comfort and grassland management,' said Ms Heffernan.

Lely Center Enniscorthy General Manager, Tom O'Leary, also spoke at the event and said making the transition to robotic milking is not for the short term.

'It is a long term investment which requires strategic planning, decision making and ongoing management,' he said.

Wexford People

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