Van Leeuwens choose Lely for NZ dairy ex­pan­sion

Australian Farmers & Dealers Journal - - NEWS -

THE Van Leeuwen Dairy Group in Can­ter­bury suc­cess­fully in­tro­duced large scale ro­botic dairy­ing to New Zealand in 2009 with 16 Lely Astronaut A3 ro­bots. Now the Group has pur­chased 24 new Lely Astronaut A4 milk­ing ro­bots to be de­liv­ered this year. Aad and Wilma van Leeuwen have built up con­sid­er­able ex­pe­ri­ence man­ag­ing large herds us­ing the Lely con­cept. Mr van Leeuwen says they se­lected Lely again be­cause of their pre­vi­ous ex­pe­ri­ence with the Astronaut A3 ro­botic milk­ing sys­tem and the top qual­ity af­ter­sales ser­vice and farm man­age­ment sup­port they re­ceived. He said knew the new Astronaut A4 ro­bots would pro­vide a top milk­ing per­for­mance. The group was also con­fi­dent that the lo­cal New Zealand dealer net­work would again in­stall and com­mis­sion the units on time and pro­vide top qual­ity on­go­ing ser­vice and sup­port. “Our staff are used to the sim­plic­ity of Lely's herd man­age­ment sys­tem and they rely on the ro­bots to do the job,” Mr can Leeuwen said. “The cows know the sys­tem and the Astronaut ro­botic milk­ing sys­tem en­sures we get the best re­sult from the cows. Happy cows and a good re­turn on in­vest­ment help us reach our goals.” The Van Leeuwen Dairy Group will in­stall their 24 Lely Astronaut A4 ro­bots in three barns of 500 cows each. The first de­liv­ery of eight ro­bots will be in­stalled in June, the next group of eight ro­bots will be in­stalled in July, and re­main­ing eight will be in­stalled in Oc­to­ber. Ro­botic milk­ing is a rev­o­lu­tion­ary step in dairy tech­nol­ogy that of­fers the win-win po­ten­tial to in­crease pro­duc­tion while re­duc­ing stress on both an­i­mals and peo­ple. Farm­ers who choose the Lely Astronaut A4 sys­tem fre­quently point to ‘I-flow' cow walk­through de­sign as a piv­otal fea­ture of the sys­tem. With I-flow, the cow walks straight in and out of the unit with­out mak­ing turns. This makes it eas­ier for her, short­ens the learn­ing curve and in­creases through­put. From the cow's per­spec­tive the Lely Astronaut A4 sys­tem is com­pletely vol­un­tary. The cows have 24 hour ac­cess to feed, wa­ter, milk­ing and rest, and this low­ers their stress lev­els. The re­duc­tion of stress is due to min­i­mal hu­man in­ter­fer­ence. The free cow traf­fic al­lows for them to move ac­cord­ing to their needs and the hi­er­ar­chy rules in the herd, which promotes nat­u­ral cow be­hav­iour. In turn, farm­ers face a much lighter work­load and can choose when they want to be in the shed. Not only does the Astronaut A4 au­to­mate milk­ing, it au­to­mat­i­cally cleans out the milk lines and the ro­bots three times a day, and au­to­mat­i­cally washes the vat af­ter the milk is re­moved.

Aad and Wilma van Leeuwen are adding three more ro­botic milk­ing sheds to their Can­ter­bury dairy op­er­a­tion.

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