Crowds throng to DeLaval Robotic Milking Open Day at Fermanagh Farm

Robotic Milking Tickety Moo

“Smart farming” has transformed how one thriving business in Co Fermanagh operates with visitors to Oghill Farm in Killadeas outside Enniskillen being treated to an enthralling insight into how DeLaval technology is playing its part in making the modern farm much more efficient.

On Thursday last (April 28th), Marcus Grey and his family opened the gates of Oghill Farm to the public to showcase how DeLaval solutions are playing a key role in the management of their farm. Also home to the award-winning artistan Tickety Moo ice-cream, visitors were treated to personalised guided farm tours with the opportunity to see robotic milking up close and hear the Grey family and DeLaval explain the merits of harnessing technology to farm better.

The Grey family have run Oghill Farm located since 1798. In October of 2014, they decided to invest in a DeLaval Voluntary Milking System (VMS). This means their herd of 210 Jersey cows can choose when they want to be milked, fed and also enjoy a robotic massage and brushing as part of a new state-of-the-art system which is revolutionising dairy farming. In December of last year after considerable research, Marcus decided it was time to take the next step becoming the first farmer anywhere in Ulster, or indeed in Ireland, to install Herd Navigator™.“Herd Navigator™ is the tool of the future for farmers”, stated Marcus. “We have invested in DeLaval robotic milking which has greatly reduced the time it takes to milk our herd, now we have a tool which can tell us all we need to know about each individual cow every day. This brings control and management of our stock to a whole new level and we are extremely impressed by what it can do.”

‘Herd Navigator™’ is designed to provide producers with an enhanced overview of their entire herd whilst offering specific valuable information on individual cows. It will allow milk producers here to obtain over 95% heat detection though analysis of the progesterone level in milk. Herd Navigator is also able to identify mastitis up to 3-4 days before physical signs are visible with a system sensitivity of more than 80%. The system also detects early signs of ketosis and together with immediate treatment minimizes the risk that the cow develops clinical ketosis. Clinical ketosis can result in a milk loss of 600 kg per lactation.

At Oghill farm since the installation of Herd Navigator the heat detection rate has tripled and more of the cows that are presented for insemination are becoming pregnant too according to Marcus. Conception rates increase because Herd Navigator also provides information to help determine the best time to inseminate a cow, this can vary from herd to herd.“It used to take us at least 45 minutes a couple of times a day and night to check for cows in heat; this now takes five minutes to check on the computer screen.

The system tells us which cows to focus on and gives us time to call the inseminator,” Marcus said. “I cannot imagine life without Herd Navigator; it would be like looking after the cows blindfolded. We used to go around the main shed for hours and hours monitoring our cows´ health and reproduction status. Now we get a full overview of our operation and automatic 24-hour surveillance of our cows,” explained Marcus. “As for the VMS, we let the robots do the hard work. It certainly has changed the way we farm for the better and forever,” he said.

Robotic Milking

Robotic Milking

Media contact GB and Ireland

Maria Tamming
Phone: +46 734 131 402

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