Lely milking robot© Tim Scrivener

Family-owned farm machinery and management business Lely is selling its forage harvesting machines branch of the business.

It will be bought by Agco, the global machinery manufacturer that owns the Massey Ferguson, Fendt and Valtra brands.

Lely said the sale would allow it to focus more on the dairy side of its business, developing robotics for milking, data collection and farm automation, said chief executive officer Alexander van der Lely.

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“Over the past 15 years, these product groups have grown into a successful activity for Lely, with a great deal of potential for the future.

“Besides the innovative milking robot, other products have also been developed that are primarily based on automation with the aid of robots.”

Job changes

The firm admitted the sale would have an effect on jobs, with the Lely machinery plant in Massluis, Netherlands, expected to wind down by March next year and workers from two plants in Germany switching companies to become Agco employees.

A spokesperson for Lely stressed that the company’s aim was to retain as much employment as possible and to work with the employees on building a healthy future for the company in dairy.

Lely was founded in 1948 in the Netherlands, has farmer customers in 60 countries globally and registered sales of £440m in 2016.