Since installing three Lely A4 Astronaut machines in July 2016, Bunnythorpe farmers Greg and Amy Gemmell have no regrets about jumping into a robotic farming future. Less than a year in, and Greg swears he’s got an extra six hours a day up his sleeve.
“Our cows now walk to and from the milking shed voluntarily to be milked by the robots – often they wait for their favourite robot – up to three times a day, day and night, then they stroll back to the paddock after milking,” Greg says.
The Gemmells enjoy hosting farm tours and educational visits. Being the only family-owned robotic farm in the lower North Island gives a unique point of difference.
Tours are tailored to visitors’ interests and knowledge, from a robotics focus including the way they manipulate the ABCD 24/7 grazing system, to a wider-ranging tour including walking through a paddock and hearing how pasture is managed, to learning about the use of biological fertiliser on the farm.
The couple are so passionate about sharing farm experiences that they waive tour fees for schools and children. “We believe it is important for all New Zealand children to visit farms and understand how food is produced and where it comes from,” Amy says. “As our cows milk fairly continuously, children are now able to see cows being milked during school hours.”
Website: Robot Farm NZ