You have questions. We have the answers. More importantly — we have solutions!

We know you have a myriad of questions about the Lely robotic milking system. Is my operation too small? Too big? What kind of feedback does the system provide me? How many herdsmen do I need?

Let’s begin by tackling some of the most frequently asked questions:

Q: How long does training take?

A: Typically, when an existing herd is switched to robotic milking it takes three to four weeks to reach a point where 80 to 90 percent of cows use the system voluntarily. Younger cows and more aggressive cows seem to adapt more easily.

Q: Can I use my existing barn for robotic milking or do I have to build a new one?

A: Almost any freestall or loafing barn layout can be adapted for robotic milking, if “free cow traffic” is used. 

Q: How does weather impact robotic milking?

A: It is necessary to maintain robotic milking machines in a frost-free environment.

Q: Is there a tool to monitor heat detection?

A: The Lely T4C management system enables you to manage information on reproduction, within the reproduction module; a herd overview report displays all key reproductive parameters. To diagnose and analyze trends, data is presented for comparing a “last period” it contains new exciting functionalities such as automatic heat registration, automatic pregnancy detection, an insemination feedback tool and prediction of calving moment (depending on type of Qwes-tags). 

Q: How many people do I need to employ with the Lely Astronaut concept?

A: Especially in the first year it takes time to understand and learn the whole management process on your farm. Cows usually adapt within a couple of weeks but a farmer needs more time to fully utilize the robotic concept. Research under grazing conditions has shown that the labor required for milking-related tasks is an average of 22 minutes per robot per day. It’s important to do the proper planning before the introduction of the milking robots to make the transition as smooth as possible and gain the benefits of the system. 

Q: How do I manage all provided information?

A: The transition from conventional to robotic milking changes your daily routine. To keep cows healthy requires close monitoring. The robot provides you with much more information than you are used to. Every event, from birth until the day she leaves the farm, is stored in the Lely T4C program. All alerts are presented in one single transparent dashboard, allowing you to focus on the cows that need you the most. This is true management by exception! 

Q: What other labor benefits are possible?

A: Experience shows that you won’t need that extra house and farm bike for your milker. Think of the amount of money that is wasted each year on your farm when a vat of milk needs to go down the drain because of antibiotics in the milk. The robotics will do the job consistently, on-time and repeating the same job with each individual cow. 

Q: How many times a day will a cow milk itself?

A: Robotic milking lets cows file into the machine when they’re ready to be milked. For some cows, this is five times a day — a big difference from the more human-oriented milking schedule of twice a day. For the humans involved, this makes all the difference.