A herd of 40 cows will arrive to the ploughing site the weekend before the event to settle in and get used to the environment so that during the ploughing week they will just be milked at their leisure as they do on their home farm.
This project has been in the planning stage for the past year and is expected to be one of the highlights at this year’s ploughing.
The face of dairy farming in the 21st century is being changed by Lely who sees the future in automating dairy farms in an animal friendly way. Cows are more relaxed as they are allowed to express their natural behaviour and have the freedom of choice to be milked at any time of the day or night.
Lely’s Tomás Cooney said: ‘The cows are milked more frequently than in a traditional system which reflects what happens in nature where a calf suckles the cow many times a day. The Lely Astronaut A4 recognises each cow individually’. Every event from birth until the day the cow leaves the farm is stored on the T4C (time for cows) management program which is then presented clearly to the farmer on a dashboard. It enables him to supply an individual cow with all her needs for optimal health, milk production and well-being.”
Speaking at the launch on the farm of Anne and Aidan Power, Anna May McHugh said: “We always encourage companies to present new ideas at the Ploughing. We were completely fascinated at the live milking idea as proposed by Lely. After visiting a Lely farm we were truly amazed at the technology and at how quiet and content the cows were.
“The NPA are pleased to give the project the green light as the Lely astronaut robotic milking system really proves again that agriculture is a specialised industry where technology plays a key role. With the removal of milk quotas in 2015 we felt this project would be an ideal opportunity for Irish farmers to see what technology can do for their business in the future.”
She continued: “I’ve come across ploughmen checking that a ploughing venue had broadband so that they could check on their cows while away at the ploughing match. I’m really delighted that we can give the ploughing public an opportunity to see the whole process in action in September – it’s something that will interest everyone.”
Lely introduced their first robotic milking machine in 1992 and 21 years later have over 16,000 machines working worldwide, milking over a million cows every day. With the long and demanding hours that milking requires the Lely Astronaut A4 robotic milking system frees up invaluable time for dairy farmers allowing them concentrate on other farm duties.
The farmer can also access information on the herd on his mobile device and manage his cows from anywhere in the world.
Lely will be doing a presentation on the T4C management programme on the hour from 10am until 4pm on each day of the Ploughing