At the Lely Future Farm Days in April, Lely presented its vision of the sustainable, fully robotic dairy farm, designed around the cow and committed to the principle of management by exception.
In a futuristic, temporary festival site near its company headquarters, Lely’s CEO Alexander van der Lely presented Lely’s view on the future dairy farm. Focusing on the wellbeing of the cow, the farmer, the consumer and the environment, he highlighted a few of the groundbreaking future innovations that the company is working on at the moment.
Recycling the flows of manure, the development of data driven, decision supporting software and the availability of a farm-based processor are some of the elements involved in making this future dairy farm vision come true. As part of the Future Farm Days, Lely also introduced the new, redesigned Lely Astronaut A5 milking robot and a new Juno feed pusher (see separate press announcements).
Dairy farmers continuously look to optimize their business processes for more efficiency and a better work-life-balance. At the same time, governments and society demand more and more from dairy farmers when it comes to animal welfare and sustainability. Lely announced the development of innovative solutions to support farmers in facing these challenges, and to offer them opportunities for a bright future for their farm and herd.
Developing for the farmer’s future
Lely revealed it is testing groundbreaking innovations related to the impact of manure on the farm. To handle manure in a more sustainable manner in the future, Lely want to see the farmer more in control. Firstly by recycling the flows of manure, making it more usable and controllable for the farmer. Secondly, by substituting synthetic fertilizer. This reduces cost and environmental impact, giving the farmer a license to operate.
Lely also explained it is close to launching new `decision based ́ Farm Management Software that supports increased profitability, sustainability and usability for both farmer and cow. This software uses the many data sources available on the farm and from the ecosystem surrounding it. Instead of only presenting information, the system will propose or even make decisions with the farmer’s permission. The system will be self-learning and, over time, will adapt to the farmer’s preferences for running the farm.
For Lely, the farm of the future does not stop with robotics and data. The company believes that the need for tailor made, locally sourced food products will increase at great pace. One of the many advantages of robotic milking with the Lely Astronaut is the fact that farmers can separate specific milks as they wish, with help of a processing unit. Milk for local consumption, which you can trace right back to the cow that produced it, with its own unique taste and freshness. Lely has built such a unit recently and is testing it at this moment. As a first important step, the company announced it is speaking to large Dutch retailers to realise the availability of this locally produced, farm-processed, tailor-made milk in shops very soon.
Changing traditions in agriculture
In its 70 years of history, Lely has changed traditions in agriculture with innovations that have made the lives of farmers and cows easier and more enjoyable. The adoption of automation on dairy farms is really gaining pace now, and there seems no stopping to this trend.
Proud CEO Alexander van der Lely strongly believes in a bright future in dairy farming, envisaging fully robotic dairy farms worldwide: “In our vision, the full robotic farm runs fulltime, 24 hours a day. Whether it is about feeding, milking, cleaning or animal care, automation takes away repetitive work for the farmer, enabling him to focus on those individual cows that really need his attention. It has been proven that this leads to a large number of benefits for both cow and farmer, such as higher milk yields, healthier & happier cows, and a better work-life-balance for the farmer. This has been the purpose from the day we started our company, 70 years ago.”