More milk and less work with a high yielding pedigree Holstein herd in Limerick

Bobby Noonan began milking with his Lely Astronaut A4 robotic milking system in May 2013 and is a liquid milk supplier to Kerry Co-Op.

He is milking 65 cows that are currently producing 30L at 4.15% butterfat and 3.39% in milk protein and are being milked on average three times a day by the robot.

Grazing and buffer feeding with the Lely Astronaut

Bobby farms 115ac in total with a 35ac grazing block around the farmyard.

He is using a 50/50 grazing and buffer feeding system and feeds a mixture of grass silage, maize meal and soya hulls at the feed fence.

The grazing season begins in early March weather permitting and continues until late October.

Due to the limited size of the grazing block Bobby manages grass carefully with the aid of Lely Grazeway gate and uses a strip grazing system to ensure fresh grass is always available ahead of his cows.

Feed to Yield System

With his herd averaging 10,000L Bobby maximises his use of the feed to yield system on the Lely Astronaut milking robot.

Cows are being fed on average 5.5kg of concentrates through the system.

“It’s an excellent way of feeding and ensures that all cows receive the correct amount of feed depending on their milk production.

“With the cows now being fed smaller quantities of meal but on a more consistent basis, rumen health is much better and the herd is far quieter and content.”

More milk and less work

“We spent 20 years building up the herd to where it is today. Since installing the Lely Astronaut I have increased cow numbers by 10% and we have also increased milk production by a further 1,000L per cow to our current 10,000L average.

“So we have a lot more milk in the tank and we have also reduced our labour requirements.”

The first thing I check in the morning is the Lely T4C (Time For Cows) which is the computer software program.

“It is very easy to use and I check the minutes chewing her cud, activity, somatic cell count and cow weights daily.

“You can really see what is going on with your cows and any cow that needs attention is flagged up immediately.

“We have far more flexibility now both from a working and social life perspective. More milk and less work with a better lifestyle, it really is a no brainer.” he added.

Return on investment

“Lely has the best milking robot and the best back up service so it really was an easy decision for me. The initial investment in the robot will be paid for by November 2017 so the installation of the Astronaut has paid for itself very quickly and has had a very positive impact on my farm and lifestyle.” concludes Bobby.

Open Day

The local Lely Center in Mitchelstown offers a turnkey service from sales, planning, barn design and installation through to on-going engineering and Farm Management Support for an easy transition to robotic milking.

Bobby Noonan along with Lely Center Mitchelstown is inviting farmers to come and see his Lely Astronaut A4 Milking robot from 12 – 3pm on Thursday, December 15,  in Ballingarry Co Limerick.

Due to limited parking facilities there will be a shuttle bus service running from Ballingarry GAA pitch to the farm. For further details please contact Brian Prendergast on 087 9326983.