Farmer/owner: David and Richard Lewis
Farm location: Trefonen, Oswestry, Shropshire
Farm name: Trefonen Hall
Herd: 80 Holstein Friesians
Milking system: Two Fullwood Merlins
Date of installation: February 2014
David and his son Richard, pictured, made the decision to upgrade their Fullwood herringbone parlour to a robotic milking system for several reasons; more time for herd management and analysis, their conventional parlour nearing the time for replacement and the existing barn being better suited to a robot installation rather a new conventional parlour.
After having their original Fullwood 6:12 herringbone parlour since 1979 and an extension to this to accommodate a 12:12 herringbone milking a few years later, David comments “milking became slow in comparison to modern day equivalents and was becoming tedious for me”. David also wanted to improve the situation for the gradual handing over of the dairy farm’s operations to his son Richard.
After researching for over 12 months and visiting farms, David and Richard ordered two Fullwood Merlin machines. These installed by local Fullwood dealer, D.A. Cotton & Sons, who provides support whenever required. David is pleased to be using a “British manufacturer” and he believes the locality of the Fullwood factory to their farm is an added bonus.
Both David and Richard are very pleased they made the conversion to robotic milking and agreed it was at the right time for them, commenting “the Merlins are better than we expected, we have more time and flexibility and the herd’s health has improved”. Richard states “we were expecting to have half a dozen cows which would find it a little tricky but they have been fine, we haven’t had to get rid of any.”
David summarises “we are very pleased with our change to milking with robots and we will be focusing on altering the grazing over the next 12 months for further improvement.”