Farmer/owner: John, Molly and Edward Collishaw
Farm location: Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire
Farm name: Malt House Farm
Herd: 150 Holstein Friesians
Milking system: Fullwood Merlin
Date of installation: October 2011
When the Collishaw family wanted to replace their labour intensive conventional milking parlour and expand their business, they decided to install robots.
The family partnership, comprising John, wife Molly and son Edward, installed three Merlin robots in 2011 and the business has been expanding ever since.
Prior to installing the robots, the family’s Holstein Friesian herd averaged 8,000 litres, but with the milking herd increasing to 150, the unit’s parlour was prohibiting any further expansion. “The parlour was old and worn out,” explains Edward. “It was originally designed for 100 cows, which was making milking incredibly slow and causing issues for the cows we were putting through it. The parlour needed significant investment to meet the needs of our current herd, and to allow for future growth.”
After plenty of research, the family decided to invest in automated milking. Edward states “Robots had always been of interest to us, however, like many producers, we weren’t confident to jump in and invest in them straight away. Instead we took our time and waited to see how they worked on other units before deciding that, in order to move the business forward, we had to take action. Robots seemed to be the best solution.”
The business was one of the first in the area to install robots, initially putting in three units, and a fourth installed in July 2015. “The robots have freed up more time for us to spend managing the cows,” explains Edward. “The time we would have spent in the parlour is now spent monitoring the health, welfare and performance of our cows. Some have taken longer to adjust to the robots than others, but they are now milking well, and we are moving closer to our 10,000-litre target.”