I recently had a chat with a farmer who was feeling a bit overwhelmed. He was mulling over the idea of going robotic but didn’t quite know where to begin. Should he hunt down a builder first, chat with the bank, go scope out some farms, or perhaps think of something entirely different? My response to him was simple: “Congratulations on taking the first step.”

The easiest way to kick things off is by giving us a ring, the Lely Center Mid-Atlantic Sales team (or hit up your local Lely Center’s sales if you’re not in PA, MD, DE, or NJ, check out our link “Find Your Dealer”). While there’s no one-size-fits-all approach, we can lend you a hand in navigating the process to figure out how robots can best fit into your operation. We’ll kick things off with an initial meeting to get to know your farm inside out. We want to hear all about your history and your future aspirations. We’ll dive into different layout options and discuss the perks each one could offer based on your herd management style or the space available.

Following that meeting, we’ll start sketching out a couple of conceptual layout plans. This is the perfect time to start touring farms or dropping by open houses to see these layouts in action. Chatting with other dairy farmers, asking questions, and witnessing robots in operation firsthand is the ultimate learning experience.

There’s a plethora of resources available online to keep expanding your knowledge about automation, all from the comfort of your farm. Make sure to follow our Lely Center Mid-Atlantic Facebook page, stay tuned to our blog, and keep an ear out for our “Listen with Lely Center Mid-Atlantic” webinars. Additionally, Lely North America offers valuable content on their Facebook page, Blog, and YouTube channel. These platforms are goldmines of information to help you stay updated and informed about the latest in automation technology.

Once we have some rough layout plans in place, we can crunch some initial budget figures so you can start getting a sense of the financials. We’ll also be able to meet with any builders you want to bid the project out to. Builders often bring fresh perspectives and ideas to the table as well. With time, things will start falling into place. You’ll gradually settle on a design and layout that suits your management style best. You’ll narrow down your list of builders, and the dream of becoming a robot farmer will start feeling more tangible.

That being said, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with diving in and calling a builder first to pick their brains or perhaps paying a visit to a local farmer who’s already made the leap to robots. The key thing to remember is that we’re all here to assist you, regardless of which initial step you take.

Opting for robotics is a thrilling yet nerve-wracking decision. On average, it takes about 2 years from that initial meeting until an order is placed. Even if you’re thinking robots are part of your 5 to 10-year plan, it’s never too early to start researching, touring, and preparing your herd for robotics. Check out our recent blog post, “Securing Robotic Milking Success: Preparing Years in Advance”, for more information.

 The team here at Lely Center Mid-Atlantic is more than happy to be a resource for you as you take the initial steps on your robotic journey. At the end of the day, dreaming doesn’t cost a penny, it just requires a bit of your time.

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