Pascale Dumais handles Lely robot sales and startup assistance for Dynaco Cooperative Group located in La Pocatiere, Quebec. She has worked with Lely since 2009 and is now an FMS (farm managment support) Advisor and Lely Sales rep in her area. We asked Pascale a few questions about her experience and role as an advisor:
How did you get into robotic milking?
After working several years in the farm equipment and conventional milking systems sector, I was offered the opportunity to work for Dynaco Cooperative Group. I was a little reluctant at the beginning since I didn’t know the product and the functioning. I can say that I quickly understood the benefits of such a system. Lely’s personnel is well trained, professional and primarily passionate. Seeing such a team makes you want to get involved, and today, I am very pleased that I have made the right decision and to have the opportunity to promote the Lely brand among the producers of my region.
Describe your role as an advisor for Malenka Farm, what were your main goals and duties?
My goals for the Malenka farm project were to succeed in the transfer of the tie-stall barn to a free-barn without too much stress for the animals and the people who work there. With the help of Guillaume Peeters, Lely Regional Sales Manager, I have been involved in the development of both the planning and startup process. Several aspects need to be considered in the development of a plan. If we want everything to work properly, the environment must also meet requirements.
How much time did you physically spend on the farm, and how often were you in contact remotely?
I take part in all my startups by preparing the computer, and I give a brief training to my customers a few weeks before startup. At the startup, I am with the producer and our technician, in order to answer their questions as much as possible. During the following days and weeks, I return for a follow up visit but also, I am in contact remotely with the T4C (time for cows) management software. I often communicate with the producer to ensure that all is well for them and for the herd. Afterwards, I stay in contact remotely for at least one month. We can’t underestimate any aspect because it’s a major change in the operation of the farm and the success is essential for the future.
Is there anything you would like to share with producers who may be considering robotic milking?
When a producer is considering robotic milking, it is good to think about the choices surrounding the construction and undoubtedly, major decisions. However, the preparation of the herd and the food supply, as well as the producer’s preparation and the way to proceed, are winning factors for a successful transfer. One can’t neglect the slightest aspect. Don’t forget, it is often the most important investment that will be made for your business, so you must take the time.
If I have one piece of advice to give, “Do not have expectations regarding the startup.”
It may seem easy to say that for someone not financially involved, but in my opinion, by thinking this way, we don’t create false expectations and cannot be disappointed, one can only be more satisfied! In a calm environment with calm people, the day of the startup can only be a good memory. Surround yourself with good people.