Dutch firm Trioliet is always pretty good at finding clever ways to solve farm machinery problems. It launched its Triomatic T40 auto-feeder in 2005 with block silage but added the T30 in 2011 for loose silage.

Both models use a “feed-kitchen” style system, with feeds moved by gantry into the electric-powered feed dispenser, which then heads out to the waiting cows.

It says it has sold 50 of the systems in that time, most of them to family farms with anywhere between 120 and 180 cows.

Though the reduction in labour is attractive to such farms, it’s the slashing of fuel bills that is often the bigger attraction. For a 250-cow herd, the typical cost in diesel for running a conventional feed mixer comes to €25-30 a day, says the company. Compare that to the €8-10 needed to power the Triomatic and you can see the attraction.

At the Sima show, Trioliet was also showing a new non-robotic (but still unusual) Smartrac 1000 self-propelled feed mixer on its stand. Most examples of this type of machine involve a forward-pointing spinning cutter that requires quite a bit of power to run.

The Smartrac, in contrast, uses a rear-mounted blade with low power requirement. The driver gets a 180deg swivelling seat and a cutout in the back of the hopper to give good visibility, while a cross-conveyor feeds out the silage.

An 86hp engine and 24 forward and 12 rear gearbox keeps the machine mobile and cost of the 10cu m version is €75,000. It’s mainly aimed at farmers with 75-120 cows, says the company.

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