Lely will once more provide a ‘live’ robotic milking exhibition at the 2017 Balmoral Show next week, from May 10 until May 13.

40 cows have been selected from the Rocavan Holsteins herd of Broughshane, Co. Antrim. They will make the short trip to a purpose-built dairy unit at Balmoral Park, where they will be milked throughout the show.

Owner of the cows, Alistair McCullough, was speaking at the launch for the show. He said: “We are delighted to be supplying the cows for this year’s event. We started milking with our first Lely Astronaut A4 robot in 2012 and installed a second one in 2014.

It has been a huge success with increased milk production, healthier cows and it’s enabled us to free up more time on-farm to do other jobs. With a pedigree herd, fertility is key and the heat detection system has been invaluable in flagging up cows that are in heat, which I would not have seen in the past.

“We are using top AI bulls. This is helping us to continually improve the quality of the herd,” he added.

As well as having the milking unit at the show, Lely will be launching its new Discovery Collector 120 this year, according to Jim Irwin from the Lely Center in Eglish, Co. Tyrone.

According to Irwin, the new Collector 120 is a “revolutionary robot” designed for solid floor cleaning that takes the manure away rather than scraping it. The machine is said to be very compact, allowing cows to move easily past it. It can also pass under sorting gates.

Lely developed its first robotic milking machine in 1992 and today has more than 25,000 robotic machines working worldwide, milking over 1.2 million cows every day.

Giving a topical example of the company’s technology, Lely has claimed: “The system is so flexible that many customers can simply check their smart phone when at the show and know exactly what is happening at home”.