DeLaval rolls out robot milkers for grazing systems
With the Irish dairy sector set to grow at five times the rate of its nearest neighbours, milking parlour heavyweight DeLaval has ramped up its sales-force here as it begins to roll out robotic milking machines designed to work in grazing systems.
The first Delaval robots in Europe to work within a grass system were installed on the Hanlon farm near Ballyduff in north Kerry last year.
Over six months later, Johnny Hanlon claims that the cows are more relaxed, with less stress and increased grazing time. He also believes that the system requires less manual labour and provides increased flexibility to working days.
DeLaval CEO Joakim Rosengren expects the Irish dairy sector to grow at an average of 6.7pc over the coming years, compared to 1.2pc in Britain, and less than 0.5 across much of Europe.
The company, which employs 4,500 people worldwide, has sold over 10,000 milking robots since it started selling them in the last 1990s.
The O'Hanlon's 45ha grazing block has been divided into three blocks that the cows spend eight hours each in. The herd of 125 pedigree Holstein Friesian cows are being milked an average of 2.4 times a day.
DeLaval stressed that the new technology is not for everyone, with high levels of management required to optimise production and profitability.