“More” time and information: Young farmer returns to roots

In a recent issue of Wisconsin State Farmer, Gloria Hafemeister writes about Andy Jaworski who returned to the family farm to operate an organic dairy operation. He decided to incorporate a Lely robot automatic milking system. Read the except below or the entire article here.

Using the robot

Jaworski is happMarch192015y he went with the robotic milking because his daily schedule doesn’t revolve around milking, but he also says, “It’s not a perfect system and you need to accept that.”

He said a big advantage to the system is the data that is collected about each cow on a daily basis.

“It’s more information to digest, and you need to be able to learn to use the data to make it useful,” Jaworski said.

He said having all this information encourages creativity.

As an example, Jaworski pointed to a report of a cow that was not getting milk flow in one quarter. The report on his computer screen indicated, “Failed right quarter.”

He decided to intervene by pushing the button that says, “prolong milking.” He detached the unit that was the problem and stripped that quarter manually and then pushed the button, “manually succeed.”

While he isn’t tied to a milking schedule, he said, “You always need someone who can respond to a call from the robot at any time. The robot will call when any problem occurs.”

According to Jaworski, most calls are for minor things. Often the calls come during the wash cycle. He believes this is because the USDA code for cleaning milking equipment is stricter than the European code so sensors detect problems and call more often. The problem is minor, but the system needs to be reset.

Read the entire article here.


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Iowa’s Governor Visits Fitzgerald’s Inc. Lely Center

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While on a tour of Iowa small businesses, Iowa Governor Terry Branstad stopped at Fitzgerald’s Inc. to tour the facility in Elkader and learn more about changes in the dairy industry. During the visit, the focus remained on technology and how robots have changed the way dairy producers and companies like Fitzgerald’s do business. Fitzgerald’s owner, Mike Fitzgerald shared how equipment has evolved from the milker buckets his dad started servicing and selling in 1959 to products like Lely’s Astronaut A4. “Robotic technology has put excitement back into the industry. We see it in our custofitzgeralds_governor visit April 17mers and in our employees,” he said.

Mike also noted the attention this kind of technology brings. Along with the governor’s visit, he cited being a part of a story that aired on NBC’s show Rock Center and meeting reporter Harry Smith as an example. But what he said what really is exciting is seeing the success of dairy programs, like the one at Northeast Iowa Community College in Calmar, Iowa, with the high volume of students enrolling.  “Those kind of programs are moving the industry forward and keeping new grads in our state.”

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“More” Data (Milkings/Hour) from Lely Robots

Did you know the Lely automatic milking system provides data reports such as Milkings/Hour?







The Milkings/Hour report provides great insight in how efficient a barn is on a daily basis. The graph shows the number of successful milkings for every hour of the day, based on the milkings in the last 7 days. So it gives an idea which hours robots would be available for more milkings.

Contact your Lely Center to learn more.


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Learning to linger: Robot update


Laura Flory, a dairy farmer in Dublin, VA and blogger, recently had an entry published in Progressive Dairy about the changes that have taken place on their farm since they converted to Lely robots. Read the except below or the entire article here.

I walked past the little date carved by the post on the front porch of our new milking facility and was instantly struck with a smile. It read “3-19-14” in hand-carved numbers that my husband and I etched with a worn-out pocketknife merely a year ago.

Over the past year, our farm has seen huge changes take place as the blueprints became barns and the hills of Hillside Farm gained a new outlook on life. In August of 2014, our cows moved into a new freestall facility equipped with four Lely A4’s, a closed-loop flush system and new pack barn for close-up cows. Wow, what a year. Someday I’d love to show you all the 2,387 photos I took to document the process.

But until then, a simple story will have to suffice – the story of where we are today.

As I began writing this post, I looked back at a previous entry, just after we had started up. My conclusion particularly caught my eye.

“And though I cannot say how the story will end, I can tell you that there is a red barn in the hills of southwest Virginia that is full of happy cows and farmers who are very grateful.”

Well, whether or not I’ll ever know how the story ends, I can tell you this – after only eight months, the farmers and the cows are very happy and finally learning to relax.

So many things have changed on our operation, but I’ll start by sharing just a few.

Instead of employing a milker for 10 hours a day, we now only fetch cows twice a day. This list consists of fresh cows that are past eight hours since their last visit and mid-to-late lactation cows that are past 12 hours. The number of animals is about 5 to 8 percent of the herd, and the most likely culprits are the cows close to dry.

Read the entire article here.

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“More” Information – Lely Journey Welcomes Producers


Last week Lely North America held another Lely Journey where we welcomed dairy owners from across North America to visit dairy operations who use Lely product. We started with a tour at Forest-Lawn Dairy near Nicollet, MN which is home of the oldest registered Holstein herd founded in 1857. The Journey continued through Minnesota and into Iowa visiting several dairies that have added Lely Astronauts as well as Lely Juno, Lely Vector and the Lely Calm products.

Many of these dairies shared their own stories on achieving increased milk production, better herd health, labor savings and having more information about each cow. Tour participants were able to see the Lely products in action and have one-on-one conversations with producers about barn designs and more. The tour concluded with a visit to the Lely North American facility in Pella. If you have an interest in participating in a Lely Journey, please contact your local Lely Center for more information or email us at lelydairylife@gmail.com.

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Spring Lely Journey Begins

This week April8LelyJourneyKickoffLely North America kicks off another Lely Journey where they welcome guests from across North America to visit Lely dairy operations across the Midwest. Today they started at with a tour at Forest-Lawn Dairy near Nicollet, MN which is home of the oldest registered April8LelyJourneyKickoff2Holstein herd founded in 1857.







The Lely Journey provides an in-depth look at robotic milking systems and Lely products at work on actual farms. Lely‘s world of innovative and extensive dairy products including the Lely A4 Astronaut, Lely Juno, Lely Vector and Lely Calm, have improved both the financial and social well-being of dairy farmers. Tour participants will be able to see the products in action and have one-on-one conversations with producers on barn designs, increased in milk production, herd health and labor savings. The tour concludes with a visit to the Lely North American facility in Pella.

Through the Lely Journey, we hope to share the experiences of dairy producers who have converted to using Lely robots and products for their dairy operations. Contact your local Lely Center to find out how to get on an Lely Journey Watch where we go next!


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“More”Milk — Kent dairy farm’s robotic milking system boosts production

Jane Lethlean with The (Freeport) Journal-Standard recently wrote about the Lawfer family of Kent, Ill. who recently converted to Lely automatic robotic April8IllinoisArticleLawfer2milking systems.

John Lawfer, the 29-year old who joined the family operation, heads to the barn each more but instead of going to the milking parlor, he heads to his office. He calls up a program on his computer to check on the overnight data for milk production of the 115-head herd that has been milked overnight.

Apri8IllinoisArticleLawfer The milking operation at the Lawfer family farm, which includes his father, Ron, and mother, Julie, has gone high tech. The cows are milking themselves. It’s an around-the-clock daily milking operation that has seen production increase since December when they added a robotic milking system.

Read this excerpt below or the entire article here.

The new way of milking allows these farmers to spend more time taking care of the herd, without the worry of making sure cows were milked twice a day. With this operation, the cows milk themselves, sometime three to five times a day. The computer collar each cow wears monitors data. If the cow is not to be milked once it steps into the robotic chute, it will be kicked out for the next cow to be milked.

“This is not for everyone, but what this allows is for good managers of a herd to be great managers to get that extra pound of milk,” John said. “But it goes beyond the milk; it really comes down to the comfort of the cow. We are dealing with a living creature, and there is a gift to the robotic arm way of milking, which allows for a more content cow. And this herd is so much more laid back, because they milk when they need to milk, and they don’t have to wait for us to do it for them.”

The Lawfer farm is a family operation that dates back three generations. When Ron and Julie learned John wanted to become a part of a tradition of dairy farmers, they began to brainstorm to update the farm to accommodate changes in the industry.

Read more.

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Vote for favorite video this week – Celebrating Lely 20,000th Astronaut Installation

Lely is celebrating the installation of the 20,000th Astronaut with a video contest submitted by customers from various countries. We’re excited to share this great milestone throughout our company. About 11,250 Astronaut customers are using the automatic milking systems daily.

Recently, Lely asked customers and farmers worldwide to share their experiences and insight about using Astronauts by submitting a short video. A winner was chosen from each country.

BlogPostApril6MeganVideoPhoto20150320_115245 (4) In the United States, Megan Kregal, who manages the Northeast Iowa Dairy Foundation in Calmar, Iowa, was the winner. Kregal was supported by the Fitzgerald Inc., the dairy farm service company located in northeast Iowa.  “Invest in cow comfort,” Kregal says. “A happier, healthier cow produces more milk.”

In Canada, John Mooney of Jonella Farms in Massey, Ontario was the winner.

Mooney recommends that all heifers have three weeks training in the robot before calving. “In T4C, under “milk settings” ensure that training period has the “yes” button enabled. This helps greatly in calming nervous animals and will assist in quickly increasing visits to the robot after calving.”BlogPostApril6JohnMooneyIMG_20150401_154933

Mooney was supported by Lely Center Woodstock of Ontario.

Now Kregal and Mooney are competing for top honors against the winners of all the countries. To vote for the videos, visit here. Take a minute to watch their videos and vote for your favorite. Voting will take place from now until April 10.


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#LelyLife “More” Photo Contest

Congratulations to Luce Morin of Quebec who submitted several great photos in March of their dairy, Ferme Courlin Inc. Show us your “More” in April.  See the photo contest details below or at www.lelylife.com/2015-lelylife-more-photo-contest/

Lely 1

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