Increasing feed intakes has never been easier. The most reliable piece of kit on the farm - the Juno
John Gilmour says his Juno feed pusher is the most reliable tool on the farm. “It’s consistently keeping fresh feed in front of the cows 24/7 which is resulting in an extra 2.5 to three litres per head per day, daily TMR intakes have increased by 3kg to 4kg DM, whilst labour requirements have been minimized along with running costs.
“Add together all those benefits, and we reckon the Juno will have paid for itself within its first 18 months.”
John manages the 200-cow Humeston pedigree herd based near Ayr. All lactation housed and averaging 10,000 litres, he says in spring 2019 he dipped a toe in the water and invested in his first robots - the Juno, as well as the Discovery 90 SW automated slurry scraper. The decision coincided with relocating the herd from a straw bedded court with feed bunkers to a brand new cubicle shed with accompanying feed passageways.
“For the first three months after moving in, we were pushing up the TMR with a fork lift four or five times a day. It was costing us over one hour of labour plus fuel and wear and tear, and we weren’t being consistent; it was a job we easily forgot about.
“The Juno has transformed the system. We used to fill the feed bunkers once a day with the TMR comprising grass and maize silage plus a blend. Nowadays, the robot is programmed to push up the feed every 60 minutes, 21 times a day. It stops for just three hours in the morning whilst we feed out, then it commences its routine again at 10.00am and afterwards goes back to the dock to recharge.
“The cows seem to be drawn to get up to go to the feed passages when the Juno approaches,” he says. “And to our surprise, they seem to be most actively eating in the small hours of the morning. We lamb our pedigree Texel flock indoors in February and that’s when we began to really notice intake behaviour.”
John says nowadays each cow has an equal opportunity. “Since the TMR is being regularly pushed up, the shy cows are able to feed as well as the dominant ones. A full trough reduces reaching so there is less stress on her neck and front claws, whilst sorting has been minimized.”
He adds: “I believe Juno is the greatest piece of kit on the farm. If it goes for a little wander, then it’s the quickest tool to get sorted. It’s a robot we couldn’t do without.”
Improved milk yield
Increased dry matter intakes
Equal feed opportunity
Minimal running costs