DAIRY farmers will have the opportunity to find out how developing a greenfield site and investing in Lely milking robots has contributed to releasing the cows’ potential to achieve a 60 per cent yield increase from 7,200 litres to average 12,000 litres,when the Gooch and Yarrow families host an open day at Tow Top Farm, Cononley, Skipton on Thursday, August 26, between 11am and 5pm.
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Danny and Caroline Yarrow with Imogen and Oscar

“Within two years of project completion, we’ve been able expand the herd to 145 milking cows and we’re on target for 170 head by the end of the year. Calving Index has fallen by 60 days to 380 days, while herd health and welfare have improved,” said Caroline Yarrow who farms the herd of mainly black and whites in partnership with her husband Danny, and parents, James and Julie Gooch. “That’s not all, the robots have provided flexibility and we now have more invaluable family time.”

Five years ago, the family was at a crossroads; it took a total of five hours a day to milk 90 cows through a 30-year-old tired parlour.

To have a future in dairy, then the unit needed investment and expansion opportunities.

Danny added: “We attended AHDB strategy meetings which got us thinking as to which direction we wanted the business to go. We’d seen the Lely working demonstration at the Great Yorkshire Show and eventually visited a number of farms with working robots before we finally made the big commitment,” he explains.

“Nowadays we’re spending just two hours a day on routine jobs and up to one hour analysing cow performance from T4C software programme which has transformed herd management and helps us to manage each animal individually, helps us to make decisions sooner.”

THE Dairy Industry Code of Conduct has brought about a “significant culture change” within the dairy sector and helped increase competition at the farmgate, according to Australian Competition & Consumer Commission deputy chair Mick Keogh.

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