Agriculture faces enormous challenges over the coming decades, to keep pace with rapid population growth and to deliver qualitative and nutritious food at progressively more competitive prices. All this will need to be achieved in a sustainable way, by halving the carbon footprint.
Based on research conducted in Britain, Germany, and the Netherlands in the 1980s, robotic milking was the first major application of robotic farming and is one of the most advanced areas today, with the cow taking charge of its own milking schedule.
Lely Robots push forage, clean stables
Herein is an important role for innovation and farm management. Olaf van der Lely, the second son of Cornelis van der Lely who founded Lely in Maassluis in the Netherlands, finished his training as a mechanical engineer at the Technical University of Zurich in 1982. Under his leadership, Lely shifted its focus to dairy farmers and enhanced its investments in robotic technology.
In 1992, Lely introduced the Lely Astronaut milking robot. This ground breaking product was acknowledged as the most important invention of the 20th century for dairy farmers. By using advanced robot technology in the barn, farmers achieve flexibility for other activities and an increase up to two million litres of milk per labour unit, all in a “cow friendly” manner.
Lely’s Astronaut milking robot: a cow-robot-relationship. The cow learns quickly, how to trigger the robot. The cow knows better than anyone else how often she needs to be milked.
A set of counter-rotating brushes automatically cleans the teats of dirt and manure.
The Lely Group is a family owned business that is active in more than 60 countries and employs some 2,000 people. Lely has six production locations in the Netherlands and Germany and one is in Pella (USA). About 6 % of Lely’s product Sales is invested in R&D.
Check the robots in agriculture gallery for further images.