It’s not just the big players that are getting stuck into robotised feeding systems. French firm Silofarmer, which normally makes full-sized feeders and mixers, has started making smaller robotised feeders for the specialist goat and veal calf market too.

Both these sectors require lots of time-consuming hand feeding, often involving tipping feed manually into buckets. Its DA Veaux robot feeder, launched at this year’s show, has twin tracks under the machine to keep the height down. A series of stainless steel tracks, 50mm wide and 1.5mm thick, attached to the ground, tell it where to go.

It can feed up to 300 veal calves at a time from its 400-litre hopper, with a spout that dispenses exactly the amount of feed into each bucket. If a bucket is missing or broken, the machine knows to miss that one out.

Power comes from two 12v lead-acid batteries and the machine automatically parks up next to the charging point when it needs to recharge. Ultra-sensitive bumpers at the front and back stop if they encounter something – even if it’s as small as a child. Cost is €35,000.

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