Eurotier, Europe’s biggest technical livestock event, attracted more than 130,000 visitors last week and was packed with futuristic technology. Emily Padfield went along to see what was on offer
Dutch company Shuitemaker was the first manufacturer to show a completely driverless self-propelled forage box at the show. The Innovado uses a front-mounted loader which moves left and right using a side-shift mechanism. Then, as it heads to the feed passage, it mixes the ration. Floor-mounted transponders allow it to follow routes while sensors, a gyroscope and laser scanners enable it to manoeuvre accurately. The machine is on test in Holland and should be available at the end of 2009 for about €200,000 (£158,000).
Schmidt’s automatic hoof and claw cleaner uses counter-rotating brushes which operate in two phases, wet and dry, and are mounted on a height-adjustable metal grating. With a brush area of 2.8m long and 1m wide, cows can be walked through the system with or without treatment agent. But it doesn’t come cheap – the system will cost from €19,500 (£15,400).
Siloking’s stationary mixer is designed for use with on-farm biogas units. The hopper is made in an oval shape to cut power use and, depending on the size chosen, mixing is done by one, two or three augers. The set-up can be adapted to suit the farm before installation, which the company claims farmers can do themselves. Versions ranging from 5-80cu m are available.
Weidemann showed its newest 8t capacity machine – aimed at larger farms and the biofuels industry – the 8080 CX loader. Using a one-piece frame and all-wheel steering, the 8080 has a hydrostatic drive with speeds of up to 35kph and steering lock of 35°. Powered by a Deutz 88kW four-cylinder engine, the machine has a full floating axle for handling over difficult terrain.
Italian manufacturer Faresin showed updated compact loaders at the show. The 6.28 and 7.30 models now have a new engine casing (which allows better visibility) and the engine has been rotated 180° to allow better access for maintenance. The wheelbase has been lengthened by 200mm for stability and the agricultural version includes two double-acting hydraulic hitches. It’s equipped as standard with a Deutz 100hp engine, though an Iveco130hp unit is also available.
Based on the same wireless technology that football experts use to analyse player behaviour, local position management (LPM) is a new livestock-locating technique. The Abatec system uses a collar-mounted transponder, which is located by radio signals sent via transponders at each corner of the building. It means individual animals can be precisely located at any time and their behaviour can be monitored for analysis of feeding times, lying periods and social behaviour. The benefit? Better feed efficiency and fertility rates.
Another system that uses radio-location is Smardwatch, made by BITSz. A sensor on the animal sends information on functions such as muscle reaction, skin-resistance, temperature and movement patterns via a base station to monitoring software. All information is sent in real time and behavioural changes are highlighted as normal, noticeable or deviating. Sensors can be fitted to a necklace, bracelet or ear-tag.
Milkline Milpro P4C brings together management of existing functions such as milk yield monitoring and automatic cluster removal with electronic pulsation per single quarter. The flow-controlled pulsation coupled with semi-auto take-off means that overmilking and liner collapse are prevented. The system also allows for early mastitis detection through monitoring of individual quarters.
GEA Westfalia unveiled its IQ cluster, which claims to be the first four-way milking cluster. Designed to improve cow health, milk-flow capacity and flexibility, the new design means it is almost impossible to kick off and is a lot easier to put on. Because the vacuum works separately for each teat, less air enters the system and the risk of dirt entering the milk lines is reduced.
Another system to use radio-based Local Position Management is the Schaer Argus Welfare System, which identifies the position of each animal in relation to reference points at each corner of the building to spot movement patterns. The benefits are that animals can be located easily and monitoring their activity levels can indicate illness, oestrus and feed intake, allowing for labour to be targeted more efficiently.
Big Dutchman’s EggCam is a new system of counting and identifying egg-weight information, as well as recording egg quality data. Currently, eggs are counted mechanically or electronically, but shell soiling and quality can only be roughly detected by eye. The EggCam uses a camera and target values to record and identify problem zones in individual housing compartments and is aimed at medium to large-sized layer hen operations.
Designed to control flies in slurry channels, Menno’s Neopridizid system uses pressurised air nozzles to spray a natural pyrethrum insecticide in short bursts into the space above the slurry. The frequency of application can be adjusted and the system costs about €2 (£1.60) an animal for a 1000-animal fattening unit, representing a payback on investment of between two and three years, claims the company.
New Zealand company Andytek had a novel progressive power cattle prod at the show. It ramps up the power level over a period of 2 seconds, allowing the animal to decide when it is time to move. Called The Wasp, it is said to result in calmer animals and more tender meat, claims the company. Though not yet available in the UK, Andytek hopes to start imports soon, with the smaller version costing €49 (£39) and the larger €99 (£80).
Pig-up stainless steel transport cart, made by Haase Traenken, is designed for use in a confined space, with a folding rear axle and detachable side-positioned winch for ease of operation. Carcasses are loaded by positioning the cart upright and winching animals of up to 300kg on to the solid carrying area. Because the rear axle folds, there is apparently more room to manoeuvre the machine in tight spaces. A motorised version is also available and the prices range from €1000 (£790).
Veenhuis £70,000 shuttle transfer wagon is designed specifically for transporting maize crops to the side of the field for loading into trucks. With a loading capacity of 30cu m, standard lorries can be filled in two loads, and the three-step hydraulically-driven double bottom chain means unloading time is little more than two minutes. A scissor arrangement hydraulically hoists the container to a height of nearly 4.7m and as the tailgate opens the side and rear walls are pushed upwards, allowing part of the tailgate to open over the truck. Wide tyres means the wagon is ideal for harvest in wet conditions.
Designed to save labour and time, Forster-Technik’s Milchmobil mixes, heats, transports and dispenses milk for calf rearing operations. Temperature and portion control means calves get a consistently digestible feed each day, while features like an easy-to-read litre scale, heating trolley and milk powder feed are standard. Prices start at €800 (£630).
The first of Sgariboldi’s updated range of self-propelled mixer wagons made its debut at the show. The Gulliver 5014, which holds 14cu m, is more streamlined than its predecessors, and the range will use John Deere four- and six-cylinder engines. Production starts in spring 2009.