The van Leeuwen dairy farm in New Zealand has become the site of the world’s largest robotic milking installation for free cow traffic under one roof.
With twenty four new DeLaval voluntary milking system VMS™ the 1,500-cow barn in Makikhi South Canterbury has gone from milking zero to 750 cows in just seven days in half the space available. The barn is expected to be running at full capacity by year end. DeLaval worked closely with the van Leeuwens to meet their needs, providing a complete package to deliver excellence in animal health, efficient milking and a farm that works in synergy with the environment, at scale.
“We are pleased that the van Leeuwen’s chose DeLaval, a world leader in robotic milking systems, and we are confident that together we will be great partners,” says Paul Löfgren, EVP Sales & Marketing. “In addition, to the twenty four DeLaval VMS™, we are pleased that the barn is equipped with the DeLaval online cell counter OCC and our Herd Navigator™ system, which were among the key reasons for choosing DeLaval. The van Leeuwen dairy farm is a great example of a farm that is maximising its resources and keeping in balance with the environment.”
Robotic milking offers today’s farmers the opportunity to reduce labour costs and provides more flexible lifestyles by eliminating the need to milk the cows twice a day. This enables successful modern farmers like the van Leeuwens to focus on improving areas such as environmental sustainability and herd management.
“On this farm there is no artificial fertiliser. What comes out of the barn is recycled and goes back on to the farm,” says owner Aad van Leeuwen. “We have proved to the authorities that what we are doing here is sustainable. As we have a contracting business, the farm grows all its own feed for the cows on surrounding land and so completes the cycle of a completely self-sufficient farm. Our goal is to focus on milk solids and not push volume ; we want to be sustainable,” he adds.