M Denholm, West Lochdrum
Introducing the revolutionary manure robot for solid floors
The Discovery Collector 120 is guaranteed to work 24/7 to very high standards
Nine months ago, Martin Denholm swapped a hydraulic scraper for a Discovery Collector 120 and he says it’s already having an impact on his 160-cow pedigree Holstein herd which is all lactation housed and based at Wester Lochdrum Farm, Bonnybridge.
“It’s a great machine which actually vacuums up the slurry keeping the passageways cleaner and delivering benefits that contribute not only to helping improve herd health and welfare, but also the standards required by our aligned milk contract,” he explains.
“It’s definitely had an influence on digital dermatitis; incidences have been reduced by up to 50% since the cows’ feet are remaining cleaner and drier.
“Legs, tails and udders are also kept cleaner and they are no longer splashed, consequently whilst we already had high milk quality, Bactoscan has been further minimized from 16 and maintained at 12.
“The cubicle beds are also cleaner since cows are no longer dragging slurry on to them. We need just 40kg of sawdust to bed 120 cubicles once a day.
“Furthermore, power requirements have been minimized. The hydraulic scraper was burning up a lot of electricity, whereas the Collector costs just 25p a day to run.”
The slurry vacuum robot is programmed every 60 minutes to independently navigate using built-in sensors to cover the cubicle passageways and heelstones, collecting area and across passageways. Instead of pushing the slurry forward, it uses a vacuum pump to suck it in to its tank.
Water is sprayed from the front resulting in better slurry intake, as well as from the back to leave behind a wet floor for additional grip, Martin explains. Once the slurry tank is almost full, a top-level sensor trips and the robot drives to the dump station located inside the cubicle shed, after which it moves on to the charging station for re-charge.
Investing in automation was regarded as a common-sense decision for Martin who together with his father, Robert were amongst the first in Scotland to invest in two Lely A4 robotic milking systems in 2012, since when herd average yield has increased from 6,500 litres to 10,000 litres.
He adds: “Introducing this second robot to the farm has brought added peace of mind - slurry vacuuming is guaranteed to be carried out every hour, every day and to a very high standard.”
Cleaner, drier feet; reduced digital dermatitis
Improved health and welfare
Minimal power requirements