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Guernsey Farmers Explore Robotic Milking System with Lely for Sustainable Dairy Future

Source: The DairyNews
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Guernsey's 11 dairy farmers are collaborating with Dutch firm Lely to develop a robotically operated dairy system. This initiative aims to address the financial and operational challenges faced by the island’s dairy industry.
Guernsey Farmers Explore Robotic Milking System with Lely for Sustainable Dairy Future
Michael Bray, President of the Guernsey Farmers Association, explains the motivation behind this collaboration:

"Lely is a multinational company specializing in robotic milking systems and semi-robotic dairy solutions. They have designed a concept tailored for Guernsey, which can be implemented swiftly and at half the cost of the original £26 million proposal by the States Trading Supervisory Board (STSB) from 2020."

Despite the potential benefits, the STSB is not currently considering the new plans, as a comprehensive review of the industry is being conducted by Environment and Infrastructure. Bray underscores the need for a sustainable approach to the industry:

"The current operation of the industry is not sustainable in the long term. We need to explore all options, including whether farmers should operate a cooperative and manage the dairy themselves, or if there is another viable model."

The urgency for a solution is underscored by the Dairy’s financial losses, which amounted to £90,000 last year and are projected to rise to £200,000 in 2024. These losses are attributed to an ageing building, outdated equipment, and economic pressures from Brexit and the Ukraine war.

Bray acknowledges the dedication of the Dairy’s staff:

"The production staff do a fantastic job managing the Dairy, but they are continually faced with new challenges due to the ageing infrastructure."

In the meantime, the Dairy is running a social media campaign to highlight the role of dairy farmers as stewards of the countryside, the unique qualities of the Guernsey breed, and the health benefits of Guernsey milk.

This partnership with Lely represents a potential path to a more sustainable and efficient future for Guernsey's dairy industry, addressing both operational and financial challenges.

Photo by islandfm.com
July 2024
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