Farmer/owner: Andrew Walley and Bill Williams
Farm location: Mickle Trafford, Cheshire
Farm name: Meadow Lea Farm
Herd: 70 Holstein Friesians
Milking system: Two Fullwood Merlins
Date of installation: February 2014
Andrew Walley and his Father in law, Bill Williams, are seeing the benefits of installing two Fullwood Merlin robotic milking machines at Meadow Lea Farm, Mickle Trafford. Located within an attractive area, this family partnership has taken experience from Andrew’s existing dairy farm, Cotton Abbotts in Waverton, Cheshire.
Due to Andrew already milking a 600 strong pedigree Holstein Friesian herd with a Fullwood 32 point rotary parlour at his family farm in nearby Waverton, himself and Bill saw an opportunity when Meadow Lea Farm was for sale.
The decision for Andrew and Bill was to choose between a conventional parlour and robotic milking for their enterprise. One of the deciding factors was the fact that the existing barn was much better suited to the installation of robots than a conventional parlour. “We see robotic milking as the future” comments Andrew, adding “we should have been using robots 10 years ago” in relation to his dairy farming experience at Cotton Abbotts Farm.
The order was placed for two Fullwood Merlin machines for Meadow Lea Farm and these were first used to milk their current herd in June 2014. Andrew states “we like the fact that we can spend more time managing our herd and monitoring the health of the cows” adding “the Merlin’s provide a better quality of life for our cows and our staff.”
Both Andrew and Bill believe the main benefits of installing robots is the welfare and behaviour of the cows and their productivity. “From a welfare point of view, we are trying to make the best farm possible.”