Farmer/owner: Roger Graham
Farm location: Dromore, County Down
Farm name: Grove Road
Herd: Holstein and Fleckvieh
Milking system: Fullwood Merlin
Date of installation: January 2014
Roger Graham’s farm near Dromore, County Down consists of 45 milking cows, a flock of free range hens and a small number of beef cattle. Traditionally a beef farmer, he has recently installed a Fullwood Merlin robotic milking unit which automatically milks his herd of Holstein and Fleckvieh cows.
The Fullwood Merlin robot was installed by Angus McKee of SM McKee of Moneyreagh, County Down who also provides a full after-sales care and support service for robotic and conventional parlours. SM McKee have established a long standing reputation for dairy engineering in Northern Ireland serving dairy farmers for over 45 years.
Roger chose to install a milking robot on his farm after visiting a number of similar sized units. “I was struck by the calmness of the cows on those farms and was also impressed by the amount of milk the cows were giving,” Roger explains. “My best cows are milking as many as six times a day with the herd as a whole averaging of 3.4 milkings in 24 hours when housed and 2.8 milkings when at grass. We’re gradually buying more cattle with the aim of reaching 60 cows later this year.”
The Fullwood Merlin was installed in January 2014, and after a short settling in period, is performing as Roger expected. “I am very pleased with its ability to milk and manage the cows with minimal input from myself,” he says. “The robot gives me the freedom to continue to work off farm whilst still being able to keep informed of everything that is happening on the farm via the phone and internet.”
“The robot is easy to use and has proved to be totally reliable. It has performed brilliantly which makes the whole system very simple and efficient to manage.”