Making the most of robotic milking: Derbyshire

Past Event - booking closed

Thu, 23 January 2020

10:30 AM - 2:30 PM

Cotton Wood Farm, Ashbourne Road, Ashbourne, Derbyshire


Join us at Coton Wood Farm in Derbyshire on Thursday January 23rd to find out how to make the most of robotic systems and use data to improve your farms efficiency and productivity.

Coton Wood, an all-year-round calving strategic dairy farm, will share their recent experiences of transitioning to a robotic system as well as discussing the major advantages in the instantaneous wealth of information they provide, a key tool in the day to day management of any farm.

Michael and Tony Ball, along with The Dairy Group’s robotic specialist Nigel Hardie, will share ways data can be used on farm to make informed management decisions on feeding, milking efficiency, productivity, fertility management and health and welfare.

The meeting will cover:

  • A review of current management practices and operations.
  • How data is used to effectively manage the herd.
  • How the system can be used to maximise productivity.
  • How robots are helping to shape the future of the dairy industry.

We will also review a selection of technical and financial performance figures against AHDB’s optimal dairy systems defined KPIs for AYR calving herds:

  • Average daily lifetime yield (litres/day)
  • Overheads (excluding rent and finance (ppl)
  • Total purchase feed costs (ppl)

If you’re responsible for managing cows, interested in exploring robotic systems, managing dairy cows on robots or benchmarking, then this meeting is for you.

Booking Details

To book your place contact the AHDB KE Events Hub on 01904 771216 or

For further information on this event speak to Hannah Lilburn on 07818723857 or email

By kind permission of Hallmark Tractors and Michael and Tony Ball

The cost of attending this event is covered through your levy, but please ensure you register your attendance for catering purposes.

If you have any special dietary requirements, please contact us as soon as possible.

Please wear clean disinfectable boots.

About Coton Wood Farm

Michael and Tony Ball farm in partnership, running a 500-strong herd plus followers across three sites and operating an all year-round calving system.

Five years ago, a major investment was made into robots to increase cow numbers from 200 to 500 with the intention of making milk in the most efficient way possible with an emphasis on cow comfort and welfare.

They now produce 9,000 litres per cow per year on their 750 acres farm and are looking to optimise their system to reach 10,000 litres.

Originally autumn block calvers, the brothers faced increasing competition for labour and decided to move to all year-round calving with the installation of eight Lely robots in 2014, to manage the milking process. Completed in April 2016, the transition was complemented with automatic silage pushers, scrapers and calf feeders.

Commenting on their appointment, the brothers said “We are really excited to have been chosen as a strategic dairy farm. We want to share our experiences with other farmers and are hoping that becoming a strategic farm will focus our business direction and enable us to pay more attention to key performance indicators”..

Follow the programme at strategic-dairy-farm

About Strategic Dairy Farms

Strategic dairy farms help farmers learn from each other through regular on-farm meetings where we will share key performance data and showcase what the best farmers are doing.

They form part of the Optimal Dairy Systems programme which aims to help dairy farmers lower costs and increase efficiency by focusing on either a block or all year-round calving system.

The growing network of strategic dairy farms have calculated key performance indicators (KPI’s) for their enterprises which are shared at meetings and published online. These are physical and financial performance measures that are critical to success. Farmers can benchmark their businesses against these KPI’s and identify areas for improvement.

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