AvonbankAgSolutionsGrandRiverRoboticsLelyCenterWoodstockProducing high-quality milk requires healthy and comfortable cows, and Lely products are designed with the cow in mind. Do you have questions about Lely automated milking and feeding systems for your dairy operation?

We invite you to attend the Learn with Lely events, Tuesday, January 31, 2017, or Wednesday, February 1, 2017, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Homewood Suites by Hilton Waterloo/St. Jacobs, 45 Benjamin Rd., Waterloo, ON. Lunch will be provided each day.

Lely experts will discuss calf barns and automated calf feeders, milking with robots and making the transition to automatic milking and feeding. Dairy producers, who are current Lely product owners, will share their experiences and insights as well.

The events are hosted by Avonbank Ag Solutions, Inc., Grand River Robotics and Lely Center Woodstock.

You can register online here or contact Yvonne Harrison with Grand River Robotics at 226-383-7678, Tonile Klooster at 519-608-2886 or Dave Clipson with Avonbank at 519-225-2507.




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2017 Lely Spring Showcase

02Here it comes, from Lely’s North American Headquarters in Pella, Iowa, it’s the Lely Spring Showcase!

See our announcement on Facebook here.

During the next few months, a number of fabulous prizes could be yours, just by being a fan of Lely. You could win one of six Lely Jackets, one of three Lely Luna Brushes, and one lucky contestant will take home the amazing Lely Juno feed pusher.

Grand Prize Juno

Pushing feed yourself could be a thing of the past. With the Lely Juno 100 automatic feed pusher, providing fresh feed to cows around the clock has never been easier. The availability of fresh feed results in increased dry matter intake and milk production, which has been found to have a positive impact on the general health of the animal.

In a Lely research study, 100 Juno customers were polled to ask if they considered the Juno to be a farm luxury or a necessary part of their operation, among other questions. Here is what they had to say:

  • The Juno saved an average of 25 minutes of labor per day, 152 hours annually.
  • Pushing feed via tractor or skid loader expended 22.8 times more energy per year than the Juno, which pushed feed three or four times more per day.
  • Labor savings resulted in more than $2,400 (USD) annually.
  • Average milk production increases occurred.
  • Payback time averaged three to four years for producers experiencing labor and fuel savings.
  • Payback time averaged one to two years for producers experiencing labor and fuel savings as well as production increases.

Needless to say, producers further confirmed through the survey that the Juno feed pusher has become a necessity in their operations.

Luna Brush

The Luna cow brush is designed to pamper and care for your cows. Brushing not only improves blood circulation but also cleans dust and other dirt from the skin, reducing itchy skin. Brushing is relaxing for the cows and they will happily be brushed several times a day

Follow this link to enter to win one of these prizes.

From everyone here at Lely North America, Happy New Year and best of luck from Lely in 2017!

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Lely Recognizes Two More Scholarship Winners

This week Lely has been highlighting recipients of the 2016 Future of Dairy Scholarship Program in Canada. Today we recognize Tamara Hamilton and Vicki Brisson who both live near Russell, Ontario and each were awarded a one-year, $1,000 scholarship from Lely.

tamarahamiltonHamilton is studying bio-resource management with a minor in environmental science at the University of Guelph. She has worked extensively in agriculture including on the family dairy operation, Hamildale Farms. In addition, she was active in 4-H along with many other activities and honors.

To qualify, students had to be currently enrolled at an accredited junior college, college, university, or graduate school in a program that can equip them to contribute to the dairy industry. They also needed to be current or previous members of the 4-H and submit an essay response to the question, “How will automated milking and feeding equipment impact the future of the dairy industry?”

In the essay, Hamilton wrote:

What does the future look like for the dairy industry? Some will argue that it is very unclear, and unstable. I believe, however, that the future of this industry is promising, stable, and reliable. As mentioned, the entire agriculture sector is going to face enormous challenges in order to feed the 9.6 billion people projected by 2050. To meet this food production will have to increase by at least 70 percent (Foord and Agriculture Organization of the United Nation, 2016). The only way to meet this is to increase the quality and quantity yield produced by farms. To support a rising population together everything must not just be economically efficient but also environmentally sustainable. Dairy production accounts for just 3 percent of our global footprint and farmers continue to work to minimize this. Automated milking and feeding technology can help allow efficient control of both food and waste. 

vickibrissonBrisson, who is studying animal science at the University of Guelph, also has worked extensively in agriculture including in a veterinary clinic and on dairy operations as well as other jobs. In addition, she was active in 4-H along with many other activities and honors.

Brisson submitted her essay in French and wrote:

L’équipement de traite et d’alimentation automatisée est un parfait exemple d’innovation, qui aura des répercussions positives pour le futur de l’industrie laitière. L’automatisation n’a pas pour but d’éliminer tout contact entre les agriculteurs et leur troupeau, mais agit plutôt à titre d’outil, notamment pour assurer la survie des fermes et d’une industrie unique et passionnante.”

Congratulations to all of the scholarship recipients.


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2016 Scholarship Winners Highlighted

Lely North America recognizes two more recipients of the 2016 Future of Dairy Scholarship Program in Canada. Rachel Boonstoppel of Grunthal, Manitoba, studies animal science technology at Lakeland College, and Ruth Dedman of New Dundee, Ontario, studies animal biology at the University of Guelph.

They are two of five qualified students in Canada who have been awarded a one-year, $1,000 scholarship. To qualify, students had to be currently enrolled at an accredited junior college, college, university, or graduate school in a program that can equip them to contribute to the dairy industry. They also needed to be current or previous members of 4-H and submit an essay response to the question, “How will automated milking and feeding equipment impact the future of the dairy industry?”


photo by Charmaine Wiens Photography

Boonstoppel has worked on several dairy operations in Manitoba and was active in 4-H for many years along with many other activities and honors.

In the essay, Boonstoppel wrote:

Farmers are switching to automated milking and feeding systems because they want to increase the productivity of their cows and farm. Having an automated system allows farmers to be more efficient in the way they use their time. Becoming more efficient has its benefits because it makes one more profitable. Modern farmers are looking for ways to use the available technology on farm to increase profits.

ruthdedmanDedman also has worked extensively in agriculture including on a dairy operation as well as several other jobs. She also was active in 4-H.

In her essay, Dedman wrote:

There are many advantages to automated feeding and milking systems. Robotic milkers allow cattle to be milked several times a day, leading to increased milk production and keeping the cows more comfortable as they no longer have to wait until milking time with an uncomfortably full udder. This system also mimics the natural nursing of a calf more closely than other milking methods. Automated feeding regulates the amount of feed each animal gets much more effectively than feeding by hand could ever accomplish. The monitor systems also allow the farmer to be warned immediately if there is a problem with one of the machines or one of the cows. Problems such as mastitis, low feed intake, or many other health concerns can be identified and addressed much more efficiently than if the farmer relied on observation alone. Finally, robotic barns make larger herds more feasible. Instead of physically being in contact with every single cow in the herd every day during milkings that can take several hours, the farmer can now focus his attention on the cows that need special attention or help.

Congratulations to all of the scholarship recipients.

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Throughout this week Lely North America will highlight Canadian recipients of the 2016 Future of Dairy Scholarship Program. Today we recognize Dennis Catt of St. Thomas, Ontario.

denniscattCatt, who is studying agriculture and business at the University of Guelph, has been awarded a one-year, $1,000 scholarship. He has worked extensively in agriculture and was active in 4-H for many years along with many other activities and honors.

To qualify, students had to be currently enrolled at an accredited junior college, college, university, or graduate school in a program that can equip them to contribute to the dairy industry. They also needed to be current or previous members of the 4-H or FFA and submit an essay response to the question, “How will automated milking and feeding equipment impact the future of the dairy industry?”

In the essay, Catt wrote:

 Automated milking systems are quickly becoming the norm for a new build. They provide the cows with the opportunity to have full freedom and to do what she wants when she wants. This system also greatly increases the number of cows that can be managed by one worker effectively. This happens because the time milking can be used for managing more cows. The robotic milker also is a management system, giving the producer lots of data on his cows. The tags on the cows track milk production, SCC, weight and a lot more. This all helps the producer identify cows in his her that need his attention. It is important for a producer to look at and spend time with his cows.

Congratulations to Catt and look for profiles on more scholarship recipients later this week.

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Living the Lely Life by Anna Regele

anna-regele-family-farm-photoAnna Regele, her husband Chris and their five children (Carter, 6, Cohen, 5, Cheyenne, 4, Chase, 2, and Claire, 1) live in Earlton, a small dairy hub in northern Ontario. They purchased the farm six years ago and are currently milking 55 Jerseys. They raise all their young stock and grow the needed forages on 190 acres. We asked Anna to share their Lely story.

by Anna Regele of Earlton, Ontario

Our lives changed drastically late one August evening. Nothing can describe how we felt when we looked out the kitchen window and saw our 75-cow dairy barn in flames. For that evening, the world stopped turning. But, with the rise of the sun, a new day began, and some decisions were to be made: Do we quit farming? If so where would we work, and how would we support our family? Do we rebuild? If so, how big, and what type of technology do we want?

So the research began. We couldn’t quit farming; it’s in our blood. That fall we travelled—tours to two Farm Shows and visits to numerous successful dairy farms—but we still had questions.

Lely offered to show us more, taking us on a trip to Iowa to visit 5 farms of different sizes and giving us the opportunity to ask farmers questions that we needed answers to. The highlight of our trip was to Iowa’s Dairy Center, a two-robot barn with Holsteins on one side and Jersey’s on the other. This center is run in partnership with the local College and University, so we were able to obtain the facts and numbers that we were looking for in reference to robotic efficiency, energy use, as well as the comparison of the breeds. We came away from that trip having made 2 decisions. The first was to go ahead with a robotic barn, the second to put Jersey’s in the barn.

regele-img_0678The next hurdle was to build the barn. Lely was with us every step of the way, making sure things would fit and traffic flow was adequate. There were multiple site visits and they were there to answer every question we could throw at them.

Those first few days were tough—between teaching cows, learning the robot, and dealing with all the other hassles a new barn has to offer— but we wouldn’t change it for anything! We started milking right on schedule and under budget. Our Lely robot has changed our lives for the better! We love the flexibility of time that we have now.

With five kids we can now attend all their events without having to worry if we will be done in time for chores. We spend at least an hour less a day doing chores, and the time spent in the barn is focused on herd management, not milking cows.regele-img_0677

Our cows are healthier and happier than ever before. We use the Lely reports daily to ensure they stay that way. It is routine to check the SCC levels in the herd daily, as well as any other health alerts. The detailed reports are perfect for meeting production goals and providing us with information that we didn’t have immediate access to before, such as milk quality and detailed activity graphs. These all help to make our one-man operation run smoothly.

To those considering if robots are for you, do your research and visit farms. The decision can be tough, but our Lely robot was the perfect fit for our family.

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Lely Vector at work on Vanvalley Farm

PowerPoint PresentationFor Ben and Margie VanBoven and their son, Matt, who operate Vanvalley Farm Ltd, located on Vancouver Island in the Cowichan Valley region in British Columbia, the Lely Vector provides fresh feed to their herd multiple times a day, saves on fuel costs while accurately mixing and providing feed management with less waste.

In 2015, after renting a total mixed ration (TMR) mixer the previous winter and doing the math on fuel consumption, labor and capital cost of a tractor and TMR mixer, the family decided to purchase a Lely Vector automatic feeding system. The barn had a large roofed, cemented area that was not being utilized that the family turned into a feed kitchen.

“In July of 2015, we started feeding with the Vector and, to this day, we have not seen an increase in our hydro bill (electric bill). We also saw an increase in milk production to 40 liters (83 lbs.) per day,” Margie said.

The Lely Vector keeps cows fed by scanning the feed height at each group and making on-demand mixes when needed. This way, cows always get fresh, accurate mixes throughout the day, resulting in less waste and spoilage.

The system is completely adaptable to any farm and feeding program.  Feed types, rations, feed groups and feeding routes can be adjusted at any time.

Filling the feed kitchen can happen at any time throughout the day, and allows for three days of storage (at least), so the labor required to feed your cows decreases dramatically.

Dec30Number3Now over a year into using the Lely Vector, Margie is still raving about the energy savings and dependability the robot provides.

“We have been operating the Lely Vector for 16 months now and just love it,” Margie said. “We have it programed to push up every 40 minutes or 36 times a day.

“With the Vector, we save time and labor and the cows are always fed on time; never early and never late.  It is an investment, but you have to consider the labor cost of having someone do that for you.”

See the Lely Vector in action on the Vanvalley Farm for yourself.

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Improve feed efficiency with new Lely T4C Vector reports

_CSO9550_Vector_barn_overhead_SmallLely now has new software for its Lely Vector automatic feeding system that offers dairy producers more insights and control over their feeding process and results. The latest version of the Lely T4C management system provides reports that offer more insights into feed costs in relation to milk production.

Lely redesigned the entire software based on user experience. Ration settings and analysis can be performed on a desktop PC, while a smartphone is used for operational management. This software is available for all existing and new Vector users.

By making the relevant information easily accessible and understandable, dairy producers are more in control of their feed management process. Real-time information helps the producer make fact-based decisions in order to improve feed efficiency. Minimum feed losses and rest feed have a positive impact on the margin of feed, resulting in a higher profit for the farmer.Dec30Number4

With the Vector, each group of animals receives the appropriate ration several times a day. Every group within the herd always gets the right quantities of feed for the cows’ age and phase of the lactation cycle. The Lely Vector minimizes labor, feed costs and fuel consumption and provides fresh feed for healthy and productive cows.

Key performance indicators such as average feed intake per day and per animal are helping dairy producers. The new reports give an overview of the fed ration and the costs for a specific animal group in a specific time frame.

The Lely T4C management system connects the Lely Vector automatic feeding system with the Lely Astronaut milking robots for real-time management information. Now producers are able to feed according to their cows’ needs, allowing them to excel in milk production.

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Preparing for winter

The winter wind and snow will be blowing soon. Now is the time to consider any issues that could occur on your farm in wintertime, and be proactive to prevent costs of frozen water hoses, cords and water troughs. All of these issues which can affect your cows’ behavior, yield and your workload and efficiency. Dec30Number5

Leah Lange, a Farm Management Support (FMS) advisor for Fitzgerald Inc., a Lely Center in eastern Iowa, recommends a good barn cleaning before winter.

In addition, make sure your rodent control plan is in place before they start eating wires.

“Rodents have been a problem on many farms this fall, so be extra vigilant in checking for problems with mice before the cold temperatures set in,” she said. “Assess whether you have already have a problem and then get bait and traps set throughout the barn.”

Below is a checklist with tips to prepare you for winter.

  • If you use heaters within your robot area, test them in advance.
  • If your robot area is sensitive to cold airflow, think ahead about how to stop this and what kind of materials you might need. Purchase these materials in advance.
  • Typical rough or worn out cup cords are more sensitive to frost. Check your cup cords and replace them when necessary.
  • Spray the cords with silicone if needed. Vaseline works well too.
  • Check and calibrate the correct proportion of water and chemicals for cleaning.
  • If you are using a ‘heating ribbon’ for your water supply, check its function.
  • If you have insulated water pipes, visually check the insulation.
  • Check that the water boiler is working properly and keeps reaching the desired temperature.
  • Ask yourself whether your footbath management should be adjusted to wintertime.
  • If alarms occur, act upon them promptly so the system does not shut down.
  • Adjust the automatic ventilation control and put fan covers on to make sure barn curtains are in good shape.
  • Chose a teat dip that has additional skin conditioners to protect the cows’ teats from little cracks and frost damage.

For more information on Lely products visit www.lely.com


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Tips for Transitioning Dairy Cows from Pasture to Winter Feed

howardWinter is coming. Days are shorter, colder and darker. There is much to do before those first few flakes of snow cover the countryside like a woolen blanket. Thankfully, Howard Straub III, dairy manager with the W.K. Kellogg Biological Station, Pasture Dairy Center at Michigan State University (MSU), has a few tips to allow for an easier transition for dairy cows during these last few weeks of fall grazing.

1. Straub recommends that dairy producers plan out the rest of the grazing season now. For many producers in the Midwest, the paddocks the cows are in today will not be used again this year. If you are a producer who is stockpiling grass, know which paddocks those will be and use the current growth rate to predict how much you will have available to feed. Keep in mind that it takes high quality grass to drive cows to and from the pasture.

2. Convert your cows to winter rations slowly. Straub recommends a minimum of four weeks when changing the cows forage diet to winter “partial” TMR (pTMR) or balage, slowly increasing the percentage of intake. This will reduce the stress of a diet change on the herd. As an example, Straub says his high stocking rate cattle (1.5 head/acre) are currently receiving 68 percent of their forage needs at the bunk. The low stocking rate cattle (1 head/acre) are receiving 45 percent of their forage needs at the bunk. Both of these groups will be at 90 percent or greater by the third week of November.

robot_-_waiting_for_milking3. Straub says you should time your bunk feeding to help with robot visitations. Feeding at the bunk will drive cows back to the barn, especially when you first begin. If your robots are currently used the least between 4 a.m. and 6 a.m. (as they were at MSU), feed at 4:30 a.m. or 5 a.m. and your visitations will immediately increase.

4. Do not overgraze your paddocks going into winter, says Straub. Leave at least 1,000 lbs. dry matter /acre (2.5 inches deep, depending on species). This will allow the plants to recover well next spring and not abuse the root reserves.

5. Straub suggests you don’t forget to remove all the temporary fencing equipment out of the pastures. Poly wire, reels, and step in posts have a tendency to be taken down by wildlife or weather if left out over winter and unused. Blow out unprotected water lines to avoid spring surprises.

The Pasture Dairy Center, which integrates Lely automatic milking technology and pasture-based management, is one of two MSU dairy farms and works to expand the research capacity of MSU.

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