What does Lely’s fully robotic dairy farm vision entail?

Farming innovator Lely has announced groundbreaking technology, designed towards fulfilling its vision for the future sustainable, fully robotic dairy farm. It focuses on the wellbeing of the cow, farmer, consumer and environment.

“Dairy farmers are continuously looking to optimise their business processes for more efficiency and a better work-life balance.

“At the same time, governments and society demand more and more from dairy farmers when it comes to animal welfare and sustainability,” commented CEO Alexander van der Lely when marking the company’s 70th anniversary in Maassluis, the Netherlands.

Future innovations

Highlighting some of the future innovations that the company is currently working on, he announced the development of three solutions to support farmers facing these challenges.

  • On-farm waste recycling designed to enhance manure nutrient value and, in turn, substitute purchased fertiliser, reduce costs and environmental impact;
  • On-farm processing:
    • Lely believes that demand for tailor-made, locally-sourced food products will accelerate;
    • The Lely Astronaut, which has the ability to separate milk, will be able to meet demand with specific, tailor-made milks – for example, for babies and athletes;
    • The company announced it is currently in advanced discussions to supply large Dutch retailers;
  • New decision-based farm management software that supports increased profitability, sustainability and usability for both farmer and cow:
    • This software uses the farm’s many data sources and those from the surrounding ecosystem;
    • Instead of only presenting information, the system will propose or even make decisions with the farmer’s permission;
    • The system will be self-learning and, over time, will adapt to the farmer’s preferences for running the farm.

New additions

Lely marked over 25 years as a global market leader of automated milking systems, sales and development with the launch of the Astronaut A5 milking robot. The new addition to the Lely portfolio has been extensively tested by 30 farmers and over two million milkings.

Cow comfort has been further improved with a new silent, faster, energy-efficient and more accurate hybrid arm, which results in consistent milking.

A new Teat Detection System (TDS) enables improved post-milking teat spraying by pre-scanning the udder before spraying. This ensures optimal udder hygiene and limits the risk of contamination.

Lely also launched the new Juno feed pusher, which is designed for use in almost any type of barn without modifications.

Whilst driving without pushing feed, the Juno can lift its skirt to reduce wear and tear. It also features a collision detector, ensuring the mechanism stops as soon as it hits an obstacle.

It can also automatically open and close electronic doors using a ‘Bluetooth’ connection.

Alexander added: “In its 70 years of history, Lely has changed traditions in agriculture with innovations that have made the lives of farmers and cows easier and more enjoyable.

The adoption of automation on dairy farms is really gaining pace now and there seems [to be] no stopping this trend.

“In our vision, the full robotic farm runs full-time, 24 hours a day. Whether it is about feeding, milking, cleaning or animal care, automation takes away repetitive work for the farmer; enabling him to focus on those individual cows that really need his attention.

“It has been proven that this leads to a large number of benefits for both cow and farmer, including: higher milk yields; healthier and happier cows; and a better work-life-balance for the farmer.

“This has been the purpose from the day we started our company 70 years ago,” he concluded. Click here for more information