In our latest blog Christian Nightingale, Lely Atlantic Commercial Sales Support Barn and Equipment, shares six things you may not know about our clever yard-scraping robot.
It’s been around since 2005:
The technology behind the Lely Discovery is very well-established. The first model, the Discovery 90, was unveiled in 2005. Over the years it has been updated and refined including the introduction of a second model, the 90SW. The Discovery 120 Collector followed in 2017.
It’s suitable for slatted or solid floors:
The Discovery 90 and 90SW are both designed for use with slatted floors while the Discovery Collector 120 is for solid floors. The two 90 models scrape manure to stop it building up and blocking the slats. The 90SW has the extra function of a water spray to help it with its cleaning duties when needed. Meanwhile the Discovery Collector 120 is a larger machine for barns with solid floors. It vacuums and collects slurry, storing up to 340 litres before returning to its hub to be emptied and re-charged.
The routes it takes are pre-programmed and fully customisable
During set up, the Discovery will be programmed with a route to take around the barn which is completely customisable. This means it can target certain areas for more frequent cleaning than others if necessary and avoid other areas at particular times. For example, in a traditional style shed with a feed fence on each external side and cubicles in the middle the Discovery could visit the cubicle area every two hours and the front of the feed fence every four hours. This ensures that the cows are not disturbed while eating. Routes can also be adjusted, paused or skipped at any time, simply by using the app on your phone.
The aim is to keep the robot as busy and effective as possible, while also protecting its battery life. A ‘little and often’ approach helps prevent manure build up and allows the robot to return for charging regularly.
It can improve herd health
There are many benefits to keeping the barn cleaner including improving hoof and udder health. Stress is minimised as cows do not have to be moved around or out of their barn while the barn is being cleaned. The Discovery simply carries on around them and with minimal disturbance to the herd.
It requires minimal maintenance
The Discovery is installed by your local Lely Center who will return to check that the routes and timings are working well. After that there is minimal maintenance for the machine. We recommend that the Discovery is checked every day, the ultrasound sensors given a wipe over and the filters are checked. All of those checks are easy to do, with the different components easy to get to. These are simple tasks that can be carried out by the farmer or employee without need for a technician’s visit.
Battery life is three to four years as the route and charger are set up to ensure that battery power never falls below 60% to preserve its life.
The Discovery’s wheels may need replacement occasionally. Similarly, the rubber seal on the front of the machine will need replacing approximately every six to twelve months depending on the concrete type. Wheel calibrations can also be done by the farmer owner of the robot. In short, they are easy to look after!
Services carried out by Lely Center technicians include annual checks to the blade, filters, battery and tyres plus ensuring that the route and timings are all still appropriate.
It saves time and money
With the task of scraping the barn handed over to the Discovery you will have freed up that time for more important or technical tasks. You will no longer need a tractor for the task, or the fuel required to run one.
A single Discovery Collector can deal with the manure from around 100 cows in a 500m2 shed. The Discovery 90 can look after around 240 cows in just under 1000m2 because it is a lighter model without the vacuum and therefore uses less electricity. The 90 uses around 2KW per day compared to 3KW per day for the Collector making both cheaper to run than a tractor. Return on investment depends on how much time was being used on the task of scraping floors before but is usually between three and five years.
Improvement in hoof health will also impact the farm’s financial performance. It is estimated that around 80 per cent of dairy animals will experience hoof disorders at some point during the year. Vet treatment, any withdrawal of milk due to antibiotics and drops in yield are of course all costly, so any reduction is good for finances as well as animal welfare.
To find out more about Lely Discovery 90 and 90SW visit: www.lely.com/gb/explore-lely-discovery/
To find out more about Lely Discovery Collector visit: www.lely.com/gb/explore-lely-discovery/
To discuss how the Lely Discovery could work for you contact your local Lely Center by visiting: www.lely.com/gb/your-lely-center/