Discovery 120 Collector working round the clock to high standards in challenging conditions.
Chris Quance says he took a punt on a Discovery 120 Collector. “I’d only seen the robot in operation for 10 minutes before I took the plunge to invest. Eight months on and it’s definitely one of the bits of kit I now wouldn’t want to be without. In fact, it’s scheduled to pay for itself within three years.
“We are projecting the Collector to make savings of up to £8,000 a year in labour, tractor depreciation, diesel and sawdust*,” says Chris who milks a 100-cow mixed herd of pedigree Holsteins and Jersey cross based near Holsworthy, Devon. “However, it’s not just about the payback - it’s more about improving the entire system, making it more efficient. The robot has taken the hassle out of our previous routine; we used to arrive in the morning to cows standing in slurry one inch deep, one person had to scrape the passageways and yard whilst the other was milking, and various gates had to be opened and closed. During the housing period the routine was repeated in the evening,” he explains.
“Equally important, the cows’ feet, legs, tails and udders are so much cleaner since they’re no longer dragging slurry on to the cubicle beds - we’re able to maintain our high-quality milk whilst we’ve gone from bedding up twice to once a day and subsequently halving sawdust costs.”
The robot is programmed to independently navigate its route using built-in sensors to scrape a complex series of passageways six times a day in the two cubicle sheds and a sloping yard which divides the accommodation. Instead of pushing the slurry forward, it uses a vacuum pump to suck it into its tank. Once the slurry tank is almost full, the robot drives to dump either through slats in the yard or to the dump station located midway between the two cubicles houses where it also charges up. Chris programmed water during summer to be sprayed from the front resulting in better slurry uptake and less slippery yards. “We kept the herd in overnight throughout the summer months to keep them on a consistent diet. The Collector kept them so clean, scraping out was eliminated,” he says adding: “Despite being nervous at first as to how it would perform in our somewhat challenging conditions, investing in this robot has been a no brainer.”
• Cleaner cubicles, reduced bedding
• Minimal power requirement, less than 25p/day
• Cleaner cows, maintain milk quality
• Programmed to challenging route
* The results mentioned are specific to this farm; calculated data will vary depending on specific installation conditions.