Making a dairy operation sustainable takes more than just installing robots. Fully understanding and utilizing those robots is key to getting the highest production out of your herd, in the most efficient way possible. Lely understands that, for many farmers, this is a whole new way to dairy and that’s why there is an entire division of Farm Management Support (FMS) advisors, available to each Lely robot owner.
What exactly does an FMS advisor do?
To put it simply, they optimize the Lely barn concept to each individual farm, according to the producer’s needs.
Whether you have been using Lely products and management systems for a while or you are new to automated milking and feeding, you will receive guidance before, during and after you start. For the more experienced users, these advisors help you optimize the management of your farm with recommendations based on your unique needs.
Meet Leah Lange, FMS Advisor with Fitzgerald, Inc.
To give you a better idea of the role FMS advisors can play on your farm, we interviewed Leah Lange, who has been a part of the FMS team at Fitzgerald, Inc. for seven years. Hired upon her graduation from Iowa State University, Leah began the FMS division at that particular Lely Center.
“When I started, I was just working with farmers,” Leah said. “After my boss sold the robots, I would help with the startup process and let the farmers know what was going to happen, the timeline of events and what needed to be done. I took care of training them on the computers and showing them how to use the robots. It was basically how to get the most out of their purchase.”
As her role transitioned into more of an advisor role, Leah began to focus on the optimization of the management of robots. Working with new and current customers to help make their robots more efficient, creating reports and locating the information they need to make informed decisions are all part of her daily work.
“Some of the farms require scheduled visits, some we visit yearly and some just call when they need help,” Leah said. “Every farm is a little different on what they need and expect from me.”
What the daily schedule of one FMS advisor looks like.
Many days, Leah finds herself splitting time between being on farm with customers or troubleshooting from her office. On the phone, she can be found talking customers through resolving their robot alert or helping them create a new herd health report. When she’s not on the phone, she can be found on her computer, using either Team Viewer to access each farm’s T4C reports or looking through their data with the Lely Farm Visit app to see if there are any holes or areas they could improve.
When asked about the biggest benefit of FMS advisors that many farms are underutilizing, Leah talked about the advisor’s ability to offer general advice.
“Farmers always call when there is an issue or there’s something they want looked at, but when things are going well, they don’t necessarily think there’s room for things to be going better,” Leah said. “I think every farm has some area where they could improve. Even if it’s just a tiny improvement, it could end up being a big help further down the road. Perhaps we could change a milk access table and get four more milkings in a day. That equals 120 lbs. more milk per robot. Something simple like that could make a big difference at the end of the year. I think if more farmers knew it was available and took the time, they would sit down with their FMS advisor to see what their potential could be.”
Advice for robot owners from an FMS Advisor
While the support given by advisors can be the difference in taking a dairy operation from good to great, Leah cautions that it’s important to be sure that all members of your team are on the same page.
“Get your Lely FMS advisor, your nutritionist, your veterinarian, your herdsman and the owner together. On larger farms this happens more frequently, but even on the 120-cow dairy, it’s still important to have these meetings and have everyone on the same page because we may all be working towards different goals when maybe there’s a better goal or one that would make more money that we need to be focusing on,” she said.
To get in touch with your own Lely FMS advisor, contact your local Lely Center and begin the process of receiving tailor-made advice that will allow you to reach your current goals and set new ones along the way.