Last month we had the pleasure of traveling with four Pennsylvania farmers to tour five different Lely farms. Our first stop was at Rivendale Farms in Pittsburgh, PA. From there we traveled to Kentucky and visited the four remaining farms.
Rivendale Farms: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
You may be familiar with this farm! Lely Center Mid-Atlantic installed three Lely Astronaut A4 robots and one Vector with a feed kitchen at Rivendale in July of 2017. The farm, whose slogan is “combining natural, sustainable farming with innovative techniques and technology,” also produces chickens, various produce, and maple syrup. The milk currently goes into production of chocolate milk, sour cream, whole milk, soft serve ice cream, and hard pack ice cream. They will start supplying milk for the milk shake factory in Pittsburgh as well. All of the soft serve at PNC Park is currently from Rivendale Farm. The farm also has contracts for the Steelers stadium and for the Penguins in the works.
The Compton family was the first Lely installation Dairy Express Services (the local Lely dealer in Kentucky & Tennessee) ever completed. The farm is a retrofit which started up their four head-to-head robots in 2015. Tony and his son, plus one other part time worker manage all the cows. When asked what this family would do different, they mentioned that they would like to add a sort gate and a fetch pen; however, their existing layout did not allow for them to do so.
Chaneys Dairy- Bowling Green, Kentucky
Chaneys Dairy Farm was purchased by the Chaney family in 1888 and began to milk Jerseys in 1940. In an effort to diversify and find different revenue avenues, they opened the farm up to the public in September of 2003. Today, the dairy includes tours, a restaurant, a creamery, a food truck and more. Being in the dairy industry and being on different farms all year long, I am seldom truly blown away by a farm, but Chaneys Dairy knocked my socks off! They offer a self-guided tour to the public which features a gorgeous sitting room to watch the robots as well as a movie clip about the farm. Did I mention the ice cream is amazing?
Kennys Farmhouse Cheese- Barren County, Kentucky
The Mattingly family started farming in 1976 and began producing cheese in 1998. Today, they offer 26 styles of cheeses, available for purchase at the farm or online. Two Lely A4 Astronauts were incorporated into a new barn in 2016 after a storm collapsed the existing facility. The farm further diversified by building two one-bedroom apartments above the new dairy facility, in which they rent out through AirBnb. Everyone on our trip really enjoyed seeing the Airbnb and learning about the cheese-making process, not to mention the cheese we all got to bring home!
Knob View Dairy- Smiths Grove, KY
Knob View Dairy is a new XL Dairy that the Elkins Family recently started up. The new build features 8 robots which mirror the layout of the Boss Farm in Indiana. The barn is cross-ventilated. The robots are head-to-head with a middle sort gate to route cows to a separate pen or back to the main population.
Lely Center Mid-Atlantic would like to thank Lely, Dairy Express Services, our host farms, and the farms who toured with us for making this trip a reality. We pulled this off in a short amount of time and got the chance to view something of interest for each farmer on our trip. We saw an XL farm, two pack barns, a cheese-making facility, a gift shop/ restaurant, and a barn with living quarters above it. It was an action packed three days that we were glad to do for our prospective customers.
Check out our Photo Album on Facebook to see all of our pictures from the trip!