“Did Juno” winners announced

Congratulations to the latest “Did Juno” contest winners. A Lely Juno 100 feed pusher was awarded to Duane Alberts from Pine Island, Minnesota and one was awarded to Ken Dykstra from South Rustico Prince Edward Island.

Go to the Lely North America Facebook page for the announcements. https://www.facebook.com/LelyNorthAmerica/

Congratulations to both these dairy producers. Look for more contests coming from Lely in the future.

Picture Juno 100 - 02

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Lely products allowing Connecticut farm to thrive

cowpots2MattCowPotsA second- and third-generation farm, Freund’s Farm is always looking for ways to become more efficient while getting the most out of new technologies. The farm, nestled in the hills of Connecticut, reuses nearly everything­­–taking raw manure from the cows to collect methane gas, using the liquid runoff to grow next year’s crops, and harvesting the remaining solid to create the farm’s unique product, CowPots. The environmentally friendly product is made from the nutrient rich manure, which helps plants grow bigger and better with no plastic waste to discard.

Recently the farm, run by the Freund family, implemented several Lely products to help improve the health and well-being of their cows.

With 300 cows, the Connecticut-based dairy installed five Lely Luna brushes, a Lely Juno robotic feed pusher and five Lely Astronaut A4 Robotic Milking Systems.cowpotsLely

“I’d say we are still in the transition phase, but the cow response has been tremendous,” said Amanda Freund, who works with her father, Matt, uncle, Benjamin, and members of the family’s third-generation; Isaac, Rachel, Sarah and Andy.

Amanda said they have already seen an uptick in milk production thanks to the voluntary milking. The robots replaced a system where the cows were milked twice a day, and many are now visiting the machine about three times a day.

Rather than retrofitting an existing barn, the Freunds built a brand new facility, much of which is mostly powered by the nearly 700 solar panels on the barn roof.

Amanda said the angle of the Lely robotic equipment is to equate to more efficient work, more time to spend on other projects and increased production for both cows and people on the farm.

“We are very excited about our Lely products and what they will allow us to do,” Amanda said.

CowPots are sold seasonally at hardware stores and garden centers throughout the nation, or online through retailers such as Tractor Supply Company, Grower’s Solution, The Online Greenhouse and more. For more information about CowPots, visit http://www.cowpots.com/.

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Better benchmarking for robotic milking farms

Most benchmarking values revolve around grouped variables, such as herd size or geographic region, but a recent study published in the Journal of Dairy Science implemented a new approach to benchmarking called Cluster Analysis. This form of benchmarking is used to automatically generate peer groups of farms for a better comparison, one that can account for several different variables known to affect how farms perform.

Comparing your farm to one from your peer group is the best way to get valuable information, consider your strengths and what you may need to improve upon.Barnview3_touchup

The study used a Cluster Analysis to develop six peer groups in North American Lely robotic milking farms, each with unique characteristics such as production level, robot visit behavior, feed allowance, location, type of facility and when the farm first began robotic milking.

By separating farms into different clusters, characteristics can be defined and customized advice can be given to benefit each farm within its cluster. The clusters also allow for comparisons among peer groups, which the study found to be more accurate than comparing two farms that may only have a few similarities, such as geographic location.

This approach allows producers and their advisors to set more realistic goals.

Types of Clusters Identified in Research

The characteristics of clusters lend to customized advice for each group. For example:

Cluster 1 includes farms with recently installed automatic milking systems that need to identify cows best suited for robotic milking

Cluster 2 includes farms that were low-producing and utilized Jersey herds with forced traffic systems. These farms can consider free-cow traffic and should evaluate their feed allowance and robot settings to maximize production.

Cluster 3 includes farms that have the northern-most, colder location herds that could consider adding separate automated feeding stations outside of the robot.

Cluster 4 includes farms with only one robot per pen and could consider removing individual cows that are not a good fit for robotic milking.

Cluster 5 includes top-producing Midwestern farms that should focus on making small adjustments such as decreasing failures in order to keep improving milk production.

Cluster 6 includes farms in Canada with milk quotas and can decide to optimize the efficiency of milk production with the lower cow numbers.

To review the research abstract, visit the Journal of Dairy Science or read this  Progressive Dairyman article.

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Lely North America kicks off Dairy Month with a new scholarship offer

For nearly 80 years, June Dairy Month has been an annual tradition that celebrates the contributions of the dairy industry and promotes nutrient-rich dairy foods at the start of the summer.

This year, Lely North America is celebrating Dairy Month and the future of this great industry by establishing the new 2016 Future of Dairy Scholarship Program that will be awarded annually. Five qualified students residing in the United States will be awarded a one-year, $1,000 scholarship.

“The future of the dairy industry depends on the development of a solid group of experts entering the industry,” said Peter Langebeeke, President of Lely North America. “The Lely North America Future Dairy Scholarship program provides support to those who will help build the future of the industry.Iowa's Dairy Center - Discovery_Sm1

“June Dairy Month is about recognizing individuals who make this industry strong,” Langebeeke said. “Lely is excited to offer these scholarships to the hard-working students who are the future.”

To apply for the scholarship, students must be at least 18 years old and enrolled at an accredited junior college, college, university, or graduate school, in a program that can equip the student to contribute to the dairy industry.

Students must also be current or previous members of the 4-H or FFA organizations.

Bellana Putz, customer sales support manager for Lely North America, said she was a member of 4H for nine years.

“I feel very strongly that there is no other youth program that offers such a variety of activities to mold and nurture the life skills that create servant-leaders who can build, fix, grow, teach and feed themselves and the world,” she said.

To apply and for a full list of requirements, students should visit http://www.lelyna.com/scholarshipsand complete the application form. Students need to submit an essay response (500-700 words) to the question “How will automated milking and feeding equipment impact the future of the dairy industry?”

The deadline for application is July 1, 2016, at 11:59 pm CST. Winners will be notified on or before August 15, 2016, by way of an email or phone call.

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Leedles Receive Lely Center Support Any Time They Call


Jason Leedle of Black Cat Dairy in Lake Geneva, Wis.

Jason Leedle at Black Cat Dairy describes the four years since he and his family transitioned to robotic milking as smooth sailing.

“It’s been great,” Leedle said. “We’ve been really happy with the process and the support we’ve gotten from our Lely Center.”

When Jason and his parents, Tom and Jennifer, made the decision in 2012 to install Lely automated solutions at Black Cat Dairy, located in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, their Lely Center was involved from the beginning. The center first helped the family decide on the best barn design for their operation with eight Lely Astronaut A4 automated milking systems, two Discovery barn cleaners and a Juno automatic feed pusher.

Even after the family and cows settled into the new way of life, their Lely Center continued to be a source of advice and guidance. The Farm Management Support team regularly sends information to help the Leedles maximize production, reproduction and overall profitability, while the Technical Service Support specialists standby to help with troubleshooting, repairs and maintenance.

Leedle said, while he was confident his family would receive support, the transition has been better than expected. He points to the fact that he knows someone will answer the phone anytime he calls.

 For all of my questions and concerns, they’ve been right there to help us,” Leedle said. “That’s been really important.”

See Leedle’s Black Cat Dairy here.


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Lely Support at Meier Dairy in Kansas

8H0A0783AMEFacing a shrinking pool of available labor in northern Kansas, Duane Meier and his wife Ronda knew they needed to make a change in order for their children—Tony, Dusty, Micah and Amanda—to have a solid foundation for the future of Meier Dairy.

The struggle to find help on their farm, made up of 720 Holstein and Jersey cows, resulted in reducing milking from three to two times daily. The Meiers knew they were losing production potential and profit, but weren’t sure how to rectify the problem.

They found the solution in Lely’s automated dairy equipment.

The family installed 12 Astronaut A4 automated milking systems and three Juno automatic feed pushers in September 2015 to become the first dairy operation in Kansas using automated equipment.

“If it wasn’t for the robots, we wouldn’t be here today,” Ronda Meier said. “We knew in order to continue that robots would have to be part of the dairy.”

2S6A0607AMEIt took some persistence and patience to get the project started. When Duane first approached Lely, there wasn’t a Lely Center in Kansas, but they kept working to find a local company that could support Meiers and move robotic technology forward in Kansas. Their persistence paid off when Duane crossed paths with Rex Whorton, who operates Whorton’s Dairy Supply.

“I have a lot of confidence in their team,” said Duane. “We know we can trust them.”

Once Whorton’s joined the Lely network, the Meiers worked with them to make the dream of installing robots a reality. Whorton’s and Lely provided the family with guidance on barn design, start-up and more.

Eight months after start-up, Duane and family continues to work closely with Whorton’s. The Farm Management Support team helps them maximize milk production and utilize the Lely T4C management system, while the Technical Service Support team provides troubleshooting, repairs and maintenance.

“Everyone at Whorton’s is great,” Tony Meier said. “They are very reliable. They are always on-call and they are always there to support us.”

Hear about the Meier Dairy’s story here.

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We’ve Got Your Back. It’s More Than Just a Slogan.


Ingleside Dairy works with their local Lely Center

We’ve got your back. You’ve likely seen this phrase used in our advertisements lately, but what does it mean?

Simply put, it means Lely is here to provide dairy producers with support, guidance, assistance, information, advice and more. It doesn’t matter if you have been using Lely’s automated solutions for four days, four weeks, four months, four years, or if you are still in the planning stage — our Farm Management Support (FMS) and Technical Service Specialist (TSS) teams are ready to help you in your operation.

The support starts at the local level with your Lely Center. A good example of the value of these relationships can be seen at Ingleside Dairy, operated by the Leech family—Charlie, Linda, Beau and Jennifer—in Lexington, Virginia. Four years ago, the Leech’s installed four Lely Astronaut A4 robotic milking systems and worked closely with their local Lely Center throughout the planning and start-up process. Their local FMS advisor helped the family determine the best barn design for their operation.

During multiple visits and phone calls, they discussed and received recommendations on important factors, such as robot placement, ventilation and the special needs area.

“We were the first in our area to install robots,” recalls Jennifer Leech. “The local knowledge and expertise was really important since we weren’t able to drive to the neighbors to look at barns.”

Even now, the Leech family continues to work with their local FMS and TSS teams. Their FMS advisor provides information to help the them maximize milk production, reproduction and overall profitability, while the TSS team provides troubleshooting, repairs and maintenance.

The Leeches also received support when they decided to expand. Initially, they chose to continue milking half of their Holstein herd in the double-10 parlor. Four years after the first installation, the Leeches built another new barn and installed two additional Lely Astronaut A4 automated systems, with startup occurring in March.

Jennifer said the local team members were easy to work with and are always available to answer questions or solve issues as they arrive.

“I know I can call or email someone at C & C to ask a question or talk through an issue and they will help me find an answer,” she said. “It’s nice to know you have someone behind you all of the time.”

We’ve got your back may sound like a cliché, but at Lely, we take it to heart. We challenge you to put our motto to the test. Let us show you that we do, indeed, have your back.

Hear about Ingleside Dairy at www.LelyNA.com/ingleside

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Lely staff enjoy Tulip Time’s Klompen Classic

A group of Lely employees participate in the Klompen Classic 5K walk/run which criss-crosses down the streets of Pella, Iowa.  The annual fun run kicks off the 81st Tulip Time Festival.  Tulips, Dutch attire, Dutch inspired food, six parades and implement show are 2016 Klompen Classic Groupjust a few of the highlights of the event hosted by the people of Pella.  That’s right the quaint, beautiful, unique town and home of Lely comes alive May 5, 6, and 7 2016.  We invite you to visit Lely any day of the year, but during Tulip Time you won’t find as many of us in our seats serving you as we’re dressed in Dutch costumes serving the public.  Don’t worry we still have team members ready to serve you while some employees are driving tractors for guided city tours, cooking up funnel cakes, marching in a parade and more.  To learn more about Pella’s Tulip Time click here: http://www.pellahistorical.org/#!tulip-time/cg3w


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Support in far off places

When it comes to Lely support and service, no one is on an island, even when they are literally on an island.

Erik DuiveEriknvoorde is in the unique position of being a Lely technician on Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada, working for West Coast Robotics, who’s main shop is a mere 230 kilometers (about 143 miles) and a ferry ride across the Salish Sea away from him.

“Some people have a difficult time deciding if robotics and other innovative products are right for them,” Duivenvoorde said. “They wonder about the service they will get from the dealership, especially if they are located in a remote region, but Lely is committed to everyone.”

Duivenvoorde said, because of their locations, these farmers have become experts on making decisions based on service and reliability.

“The importance of service and reliability of milking equipment has never been greater,” he said. “These farms are prime examples of proving we at Lely stand by that.”

Before Duivenvoorde was hired on and trained to provide service to farms on Vancouver Island, he said West Coast Robotics initially rented a house and placed a temporary technician in the area, making sure the milk producers were never without aid and have since then established a permanent division on Vancouver Island.Van

“There has always been support to get people going, even in remote areas,” Duivenvoorde said. “It was quite the commitment, and that commitment has only increased with the permanent establishment on the island.”

Producers often take time to familiarize themselves a new and innovative product when they are in remote places, he said. The ability for Lely to have people like Duivenvoorde in these remote regions takes a lot of the worries away and shows that Lely is committed to everyone.

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Lely Journey Tour visits seven dairies

FullSizeRenderLely North America hosted another Lely Journey the week of April 11 where dairy owners from across North America visited Midwest dairy operations using Lely products.

Producers had the opportunity to see the barns and equipment firsthand and ask questions of the Lely dairy producers. The tour included visits to dairies throughout Wisconsin, Minnesota and Iowa.

The first stop was Leedle Farms Black Cat Dairy in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, which installed eight Astronaut A4 automated milking systems, along with Discover mobile barn cleaners and Juno automatic feed pushers in 2012.

In all, participants were able to see:
• 30 milking robots spread throughout seven farms in seven different robot configurations.
• A variety of sizes and barn layouts including new construction and retrofit.
• Many Lely barn products in action.

The Journey Tour concluded with a behind-the-scenes tour of Lely North America headquarters so participants could experience each phase of robot production. They were able to watch the testing process and get an inside look at robot components.

To see more photos from the Lely Journey Tour visit us at www.facebook.com/LelyNorthAmerica or follow us on Twitter @DairyRobot.

If you have an interest in participating in a future Lely Journey Tour, please contact your local Lely Center for more information or email us at lelydairylife@gmail.com


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