Corner’s Pride Farm (CPF) will become the largest Canadian member of the Lely red cow community in the second quarter of 2017. Lely Center West Coast Robotics, together with Lely North America (Lely NA), are proud to be working with Corner’s Pride Farms Ltd. near Rosedale, British Columbia. Lely recognizes dairy XL operations that have eight Lely robots or more by presenting them with a “red” Lely cow to display on their farm to signify their partnership into the red cow community.
Corner’s Pride, which currently milk 1,650 cows at their dairy location, and has 40 employees in four locations, was first established in 1968 as a 30-cow dairy in Sardis, British Columbia. At time of release, the farm is committed to 30 Lely automatic milking systems - the single largest Lely robotic farm in Canada. Recently, Corner’s Pride started building two new barns and plans to transition to using Lely automatic milking systems in those barns by June 2017. Once the two new barns are running, they plan to retrofit all barns to be equipped with Lely robots. Their goal is to have the whole herd transitioned to using Lely robots by December 2017. Corner’s Pride partners include Bernie and Yvonne VanderMeulen, Brandon and Janel Bisschop and Justin VanderMeulen. Bernie VanderMeulen serves as general manager and Brandon Bisschop and Justin VanderMeulen are operation managers
Corner’s Pride, who has been considering adding robotics for some time, examined many dairy robotic competitors before choosing Lely.
“We ultimately went with Lely because of the experience the company has in robotics and the local Lely Center played a large role in our decision,” said Bernie VanderMeulen, general manager at Corner's Pride Farms Ltd. “We have been very impressed with Brian and Jan Rodenburg and the whole West Coast Robotics team. Their knowledge and expertise along with the Lely farm management support (FMS) system and lean management information gave us great confidence in our decision. We look forward to building a strong and trusting relationship with them.”
Corner’s Pride partners toured many Lely operations and spoke with owners and staff about the benefits of Lely automated equipment. All of the partners took an active role in the decision process.
“We created a questionnaire when we toured farms and asked many questions about labor, production numbers, herd health and more,” VanderMeulen said. “Overall, we feel that Lely automated equipment will provide our herd with a more relaxed environment, less time on their feet, less cow movement, less time contained in a holding pen, great data and information on cows which will lead to greater milk production. As we toured the robot farms, it seemed a lot quieter and almost like nothing was going on.”
The Fraser Valley labor market has been a challenge for the farm. Corner’s Pride has been managing shifts throughout their 22-hour work day. They are looking to redirect their time away from recruiting and training in-turn to maximize staff abilities, manage the farm enterprise and optimize the herd.
After meeting with other Lely owners the Corner’s Pride parters said “we were surprised to learn about their reduction in labor costs. We were impressed with the milking times, accuracy, production numbers and somatic numbers. Lely robots will allow us to milk our cows with less labor, allowing us to deal with cows more, labor management less with increased cow welfare.”
In addition to reducing labor issues, Corner’s Pride wanted local support that provides great service and information.
The partners felt that West Coast Robotics has a great reputation for being committed to robots and finding solutions to problems and dealing with issues quickly. CPF feels they have true partners in this investment.