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Schuitemaker’s automatic diet feeder gets to work

Offering an alternative solution to daily livestock feed activities, Schuitemaker has developed a fully automatic diet feeding system.

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Now operating on farms across the Netherlands and Germany, main drivers for the development of the Innovado focus on the increase in scale and automation in dairy farming and beef enterprises, says the manufacturer.

 

Currently, there are four machines working on farm, with another four planned for the near future. Benefits include time and labour savings, always fresh food available for the animals and better feed efficiency, says the manufacturer.

 

The machine will be available in the UK shortly.

Multiple buildings and cow groups can be looked after.
Multiple buildings and cow groups can be looked after.

Development of the machine saw several concepts tested, which began with the reveal of the first prototype at the 2008 EuroTier Show, Germany.

 

The final concept sees the development of a ‘standalone’ solution which comprises a machine which is able to load itself at the clamp, add concentrates, mix the material then dispense its contents.

 

This negates the need for an intermediate feed bunker, or ‘feed kitchen’ as some competitor manufacturers call it, as Schuitemaker’s machine can look after all feed processes from the clamp to the feed trough, it says.

Navigation and feed planning

Navigation and feed planning

Navigation of the Innovado is fully automatic, with the path of the machine indoors guided by transponders buried in the ground. Outside of buildings, around the yard, guidance is taken care of via real time kinetics (RTK). Various routes can be programmed and altered to suite different cattle groups, says Schuitemaker.

 

All rations and feeding times are planned via a central feed management programme. This allows the dairy farmer for instance, to monitor the feeding efficiency after every feeding round, says the manufacturer.

 

Power for the Innovado comes from a 75hp diesel engine.

Filling and mixing

Filling and mixing

The Innovado’s mixing chamber has a capacity of 8cu.m, featuring two vertical mixing augers and a weighing system. Forage is loaded in order according to the feed plan, for most effective mixing action, says the manufacturer. The mixing process begins during loading to save on energy.

 

Loading is by way of a cutting arm and conveyor. However, rather than a milling head which mulches material, the cutting arm aims to retain forage structure by taking vertical slices from the clamp face.

Bulk materials

Bulk materials

Maximum cutting height is 4.8m, and it also has the ability to clean-up the clamp and take on-board products such as brewers’ grains and other bulk concentrates using an intake auger.

 

For smaller volumes of concentrates and liquids, a chute is used for loading.

 

Via a wireless connection, the Innovado can ‘tell’ storage hoppers when to dispense their contents.

Feeding out

Feeding out

When feeding, the machine calculates the feed distribution in kg/m to evenly distribute it along the length of the feed trough/passage, says the manufacturer. A hydraulically-driven conveyor is able to discharge feed to either side of the machine.

 

If used in a feed passage, the Innovado feature two, hydraulically folding feed pushers which can be used between feeding times to keep feed pushed up against the barrier.

 

One Innovado can look after 700 cows plus 250 heifers, says the manufacturer.

Safety

Safety

For safety, the machine employs sensors to constantly scan its working area. If anything is detected it stops immediately, says Schuitemaker. In addition, the machine can also be stopped if any of its bumpers or emergency stop switches are pressed.

 

The manufacturer claims the Innovado can be installed on just about any farm, and is flexible enough to fit in with future building development of farms, says the manufacturer.

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