INVESTING in a Lely Discovery 90S has proved to be a shrewd decision for Aghalee dairy farmers John Johnston, and son Kenneth.
The robotic scraper is now embarking on its third winter at Tunny Farm on the shores of Lough Neagh, and as well as being a labour saving device, it is also contributing towards substantial savings on bedding and veterinary costs.
“I saw the Discovery on the Lely stand at the Winter Fair at Balmoral, and I thought it was a great invention,” explained John. “It seemed expensive at the time, but it is well worth it.”
The United Dairy Farmer producers manage a herd of 150 pedigree Holstein cows yielding 8,600 litres at 4.1% butterfat and 3.2% protein. The herd is milked twice daily, and is achieving its yields on a self-feed silage system with out of parlour feeders.
The Lely Discovery is installed in the shed which houses the milking portion of the herd. Before the Discovery was purchased the slatted shed was scraped using a tractor, and the 130 cubicles were bedded twice each week with sawdust.
“Since we bought the Lely Discovery the cubicles are easier to keep clean and dry, allowing us to reduce our sawdust usage by fifty per cent, which represents a huge saving over the winter months,” said Kenneth.
“The Discovery is farmer friendly and easy to programme using the E-link control. It can be set to operate on multiple routes throughout a 24 hour period. Our shed is divided into four zones and is scraped on an hourly basis, with the exception of the area along the back of the feed barrier which is scraped during morning and evening milking.”
John continued: “The whole environment is much better for the cows, and their feet and legs are noticeably cleaner, which has helped to reduce dermatitis and other feet problems. Our somatic cell count is in double figures, but the big thing for us is the reduction in the number of cases of mastitis.
“The number of cows treated for environmental mastitis last winter was in single figures. With less dermatitis and mastitis within the herd our veterinary expenditure has been significantly reduced.”
Kenneth concluded: “The Discovery was easy to install and the cows don’t take any notice of it going about its hourly routine. It is very reliable and virtually maintenance free.”
The Lely Discovery is an intelligent solution for cleaning both slatted and solid passageways. The device is easy to install, and its compact dimensions allow it to pass easily under segregation gates within sheds.
It is available in two models which operate from a charging station, usually sited conveniently within the cow shed. The new SW90 model connects to a second station to re-fill with water. It features a 30 litre tank and is fitted with an automatic valve for re-filling.
Jim Irwin of Lely Center Eglish added: “The Lely Discovery not only reduces labour, but also maximises cow comfort and hygiene. Mastitis and lameness are the two most common reasons for the premature culling of dairy cows. The Discovery has been designed to thoroughly clean slatted floors on a regular basis, thus resulting in cleaner slats, cleaner cubicles and cleaner cows.”
Anyone ordering a Lely Juno silage pusher or a Lely Discovery barn cleaner will receive a free iPad. Orders must be placed before December 21.
To find out more about the wide range of robotic and labour saving technology available from Lely Center Eglish, visit the company’s stand at the RUAS Winter Fair. Alternatively contact Jim Irwin on mobile: 07827 884636, or Colin Bell on mobile: 07917 524575.