Robot feeder saves time, labor

The Lely Vector feeder on John Scherber’s dairy near Rogers, Minn. has been in operation for about a year. Scherber says the robot saves him about 3 hours each day in mixing and delivering feed.

The robot docks in the feed center where it recharges while being filled.
Scherber controls the robot from a mobile device. All ration and mixing information, as well as status of the robot, is displayed on the screen.
Dry feed, haylage and corn silage is loaded into the mixer from upright silos. The control system starts and stops all conveyors, including opening and closing silo doors.
Dry hay automatically drops from an overhead conveyor
Once the mixer is ready, it exits the feed center and makes its way to the barn. Because the Vector also has a method for pushing up feed, it is able to push snow out of its path during inclement weather. Scherber says ice buildup does occur where the wheels make a path, but it’s easily maintained.
Once in the barn, the robot pushes up and delivers feed in one pass. It uses spacial guidance parameters to know where it is in the barn, and which pen it is feeding.
A laser measures feed depth to know how much residual feed is leftover and how much feed it is delivering.
Scherber monitors feed deliveries on a daily basis. Between lactating, dry cow and heifer groups, the Vector can deliver 15 loads or more in a 24-hour period.

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Photos by Steve Woit

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