Lely, producer of milking robots and farm equipment, launched an innovative system to process milk on the farm. This gives the farmer a greater role in the marketing and processing of milk.
The new automatic processor, called the Lely Orbiter, works 24/7 and has been designed with the highest food safety standards in mind. The system will get milk directly from 2-4 Lely Astronaut milking robots and has been especially designed to handle a low flow of milk. This enables the system to start processing the milk fast, directly after milking, by cooling it down to 4°C. The continuous automated operation ensures a large capacity.
The closed set-up of the system, coupled with the fact that there are very few processing steps and little time between milking and processing, guarantees both milk quality and food safety. The on-farm dairy processor is designed to be a future-proof solution for farmers to increase their milk income. They can increase the revenue of milk by adding more value to milk, having a short route to the consumer and the choice to market the milk themselves. The system allows farmers to differentiate in the dairy market and explore new opportunities. Higher revenues from milk also allows them to meet changing consumer demands and invest in a sustainable future for their farms. The data from the milking robot makes smart separation of the milk possible. The farmer can choose to select the milk from certain cow families, age groups or cows that have an above average protein content for example.
With the Lely Orbiter, the farmer has total control to process milk from any selected group of cows. This allows the farmer to make choices about processing with the end product and consumer in mind. The reduced number of steps from the farm to the consumer create the freshness and purest taste of the product. The current system is a working concept and has been operational for the past 8 months on the Dobbelhoeve farm in Udenhout, the Netherlands. A farm where father and son Van Roessel milk 120 cows, organically produced. With the system, this farm is producing their own milk, named ‘Mijn Melk’ (Dutch for ‘My Milk’). The farmer has selected specific cow families for this milk and is directly sold to a retailer (so not sold to consumers at the farm). The retail price of the 800 ml bottle of ‘Mijn Melk’ is € 1.69. The name of the cow and her family members, the date the cows are milked and when the milk is bottled are mentioned on the bottle, and according to the farmers this is essential in today’s world where consumers want to know where their food comes from.
Dairy farmers are familiar with the Lely being red. But when Lely introduces innovations, the company does so via the ‘Yellow Revolution’. Alexander van der Lely, CEO of Lely: “We introduced the milking robot 26 years ago. That was a true revolution. Since then, we have been continuing to innovate, always with the cow as a central point. Since 2005, we have been highlighting our innovations by making the first type of the machine yellow. Since 2005, we introduced 9 yellow revolutions and the Lely Orbiter is now the latest addition. With Orbiter we want to increase the role of the dairy farmer in the marketing and processing of milk”. Van der Lely addresses that small scale processing on-farm makes it possible to make choices in the type of milk produced. “The first installation runs at the farm of Van Roessel and from there we will improve and further develop the installation. We also see potential outside the Netherlands, in other North West European countries, but also in the United States and China for example”, he concludes.