The introduction of Lely robotic milking technology has been viewed by many dairy farmers as an opportunity to get out of the parlour.

However, according to Lely, its robotic technology provides many more benefits in terms of health, production and reproductive performance.

Evelyn Drake, Lely Farm Management Support said that at each individual milking there are over 100 pieces of information generated.

These include milk quality, temperature, body weight, animal health and milk speed, she said.

She said farmers can access the milk yield, protein, fat and milk quality for each individual cow following milking.

Health issues can also be identified, she said, and the use of a colour check and conductivity allows for the ease of mastitis diagnosis.

“The colour check can also be used for the detection of blood and colostrum.”

The number of times cows are milked is also dependent on milk yield, she said.

“The system is individual to the cows, we do not over or under milk any cows. There is no point in milking a high yielding cow once-a-day or a low-yielding three times a day.”

Milking times

Farmers using Lely technology can also choose to dry off one particular quarter if there is a persistent udder health issue.

The technology can be used in the detection of heat and the optimum mating time, she said.

Each cow is fitted with a collar, she said, and these collars have activity monitors that indicate when cows are in heat.

This is carried out by comparing two corresponding days activity levels, calving date and the date of the previous heat.

Aidan Fallon, of Lely added that the robot remembers the previous seven milkings. As the udder gets bigger and smaller over the lactation curve it will know where the teats are located.

The milk is tested while the cow is being milked, mastitis is recorded on a per quarter basis allowing the farmer to easily identify the affected spin.

Lely uses a four effect pulsation and each unit drops off depending on the flow rate from each quarter.