Milking robots - improving the unit’s all-round efficiency
Introducing the revolutionary manure robot for solid floors - Twelve months on from investing in the Discovery 120 Collector, Chris Barton says: “This robot is doing a cracking job; its working round the clock keeping the shed cleaner, so we’ve cleaner cows 24/7. In fact, it’s the one bit of kit I couldn’t do with out and what’s more, it is scheduled to pay for itself within five years.
“The Collector is making fixed cost savings of approximately £5,000 a year in labour, tractor depreciation, diesel and sawdust, and that’s without the benefits of improved cow health and welfare,” says Chris who manages a 100-cow Holstein herd averaging 11,281 litres near Preston, Lancashire with his father, David and brother, Matt.
“We were scraping the passageways twice a day with a tractor and scraper but it wasn’t doing the job as well as we would have liked, so we considered various options.
“We wanted something with minimum impact and disturbance to the cows, and we felt the Collector fitted the bill for minimal building work and installation. The cows soon got used to the machine which cleans the shed a lot more often than we ever could.
The robot is programmed to independently navigate its route using built-in sensors to scrape the entire shed clean every two hours. “The cows’ legs, tails and udders are kept cleaner which has helped to maintain the herd’s already low SCC at 87 and Bactoscan 6. Cleaner udders also mean we don’t have to spend as much prep time at milking.
“Since they’re no longer standing in slurry for most of the day, their feet are cleaner and drier so the cubicle beds are kept cleaner, and whilst we already had a footbath to minimise digital dermatitis, last year we witnessed a noticeable four-fold reduction to just three incidences.”
The Collector uses a vacuum pump to suck slurry in to its tank, and once almost full, the robot drives to the dump station located outside the shed where it also charges up. During summer, Chris used the robot’s facility to programme water to be sprayed from the front resulting in better slurry uptake and yards with better grip. “This feature is particularly beneficial, it helps to keep the floor less slippery enabling the cows to express their natural behaviour.
He adds: “The Collector has truly transformed the shed environment. We are over the moon.”
- Straight forward installation
- Cleaner shed, cleaner cows
- Time saving
- Minimal power requirement, approximately 40p/day