Increasing labor efficiency with automatic routing

Besides milking, the Lely Astronaut milking robot also allows you to increase your labor efficiency by automatically routing cows that require treatment into a separation pen. This helps to save labor and time when you have to treat, inseminate, dry off, etc (a) cow(s). Of course, this demands the presence of a routing area behind the robot, which is preferably flexible in size, so that larger groups of cows (e.g. dry off, pregnancy checks) can be routed here when needed.

Management, Cow health, Milking

In newer barns, often a three-way selection at the exit of the milking robot is set up. A special needs area (bedded pack) behind the robot is ideal to let fresh cows adjust and give them extra comfort the first week(s) after calving. This also allows you to quickly assess the health status of the fresh cows each morning and afternoon when performing robot routines. However, this special needs area should not be used to separate e.g. a cow in heat, because she may injure the other cows. Hence a three-way routing possibility at the exit of the robot is ideal to be able to separate accordingly (figure 1). By using a flexible gating system, the separation area can be enlarged by moving the barrier with the special needs area down, increasing space at the feed bunk to “lock up” more cows.

Figure 1: Example of a three-way routing possibility.

Automatic routing tasks can be set in the Lely T4C management program on herd, group and cow level. More information on how to perform these routing tasks can be found through the “Your guide” link in T4C. Under the header “Quick reference – advanced T4C routines”, it is explained in detail on how to set individual, group and herd routing tasks.

Cows can be routed based on performance, health and calendar attentions, which saves a lot of time because cow fetching is avoided.(figure 2) Routing tasks can be made active per specific day and during a certain time period of that day. To quickly see which routing tasks are active, select “Data entry – Daily entry – Routing in T4C”.

Figure 2: Automatic routing task in T4C.