Discovery 120 Collector gets to hard-to-reach corners
“When it gets cold the muck can go dry. The tractor and scraper used to smear [the muck] and plaster it across the floor but the sprayer keeps the floor moist, so you get a much cleaner result.” Llion Davies, Glaspant Farm, Newcastle Emlyn, Ceredigion.
X 1 Lely Discovery 120 Collector
To accommodate herd expansion at Glaspant Farm, two indoor silage pits were converted into cubicle sheds. Although it was a cost-effective investment, the conversion meant there were corners the tractor and scraper and automatic scrapers could not reach.
This left the Davies family using a handheld squeegee to keep shed floors clean which was time-consuming. On top of this, during winter housing it was taking longer to pre-wipe dirty udders, says Llion Davies milks 200 cows near Newcastle Emlyn, Ceredigion, alongside his parents, Geraint and Ennis, and wife, Annwen, who worked as a farm vet.
+ Contributing to improved cleanliness and better foot health.
+ Saved 65 minutes daily scraping with a tractor.
To improve cleanliness, they installed Discovery 120 Collector last January. It was purchased through the Welsh Government’s Small Grants scheme which meant they received 40% funding towards the cost of the robot.
The Collector was easily retrofitted into their existing buildings. “The installation took a day and didn’t bother us in the slightest; we just put a few cattle gates where the engineers were working,” Llion recalls. The Collector is programmed to do 32 routes around five cubicle sheds and runs for 11.5 hours daily – the advised maximum to allow for sufficient charging.
One of its best features is the water spraying function, says Llion. “It sprays water from the front and back of the machine. When it gets cold the muck can go dry. The tractor and scraper used to smear [the muck] and plaster it across the floor but the sprayer keeps the floor moist, so you get a much cleaner result.”
The Davies installed a water harvesting tank to feed Collector and have been impressed at its low running cost – it uses just 3kW of electricity daily which costs the Davies 51p/day. As well as reducing cow slippages, the Davies have reduced scraping times from 1.5 hours to 25 minutes.
Rather than scraping sheds, Llion now only scrapes the collecting yard and outdoor loafing area. “The aftercare has been very good. Rhodri is always on the end of the phone or on What’s App.” Llion says the app used to control the Collector is also easy to use.
“If the robot was going to be in our way, I can set it to go later. I can also increase the number of passes if I think the floor looks dirty,” he explains.
Alongside using an automated foot bath and completing a ‘blitz’ treatment of infected cows, the Davies believe installing the Collector has helped improve foot hygiene and reduce digital dermatitis from 10% to less than 1%.
It has also made milking easier, adds Llion.
“The beds are cleaner because there is less slurry for the cows to walk through. As a result, there is less muck on the cows’ udders, which has saved time pre-wiping cows during milking,” he adds.
• Farming 400 acres
• Milking 200 Holstein/Friesian cows
• All-year-round calving with an autumn bias
• Yielding 7,500 litres at 4.6% fat and 3.55% protein
• 3,900 litres produced from forage
• 28.9% pregnancy rate.