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Wednesday, 27 May 2020 13:34

More options with clever multi-feeder

Written by  Mark Daniel
Giltrap Engineering's Multi-Feeder Plus. Giltrap Engineering's Multi-Feeder Plus.

Giltrap Engineering says its Multi-Feeder Plus offers users a wider range of feeding options. 

Numbered 4B, 5B and 6B, the model numbers indicate the capacity in six-foot diameter rounds or seven-foot long square bales, with overall capacities of 13, 15.5 and 18 cubic metres, or 8700, 10,400 or 12,000 kg.

Described as a multi-purpose machine, offering the ability to handle chopped silage, square bales, roto-cut bales and beet, the MP should be interesting to farmers that have diverse feed sources or might wish to diversify in the future.

Featuring a one-piece tub built from Hardox steel, offering strength with reduced weight, the tub sides are one-metre high, allowing square bales to be stacked two-deep, without the need for “greedy boards”, so reducing the number of trips/loads per day.

In the base of the machine, the larger units are fitted with four ten-tonne-capacity floor chains (two on the 4B model) operating in a recessed channel, allowing the RHS, bolted slats to sit flat on the floor and resist bending. The rear tailgate is fitted with an auto-release system, allowing it to open if a load is reversed too far.

Up front, the feed-out chamber takes material from the main tub, then moves the material to the unloading elevator using RHS bars carried on a 3-inch pitch chain, with a 15,000lb load rating, said to be the heaviest in the industry. 

A load-sensing valve automates feed-rate control to the hydraulically adjustable, tilting elevator on the right side of the machine, with a design layout seeing it extending under the floor to minimise spillage. On the left side of the feed-out chamber, a deflector plate allows feeding to the left for forage or beet, with the option of a shredder unit.

The driveline of the feeder uses hydraulics throughout, with the need for three double acting remotes, which in turn power the main bin floor, the feed chamber conveyor and the unloading elevator. The drive to the motors is direct, removing the need for more typical intermediate chain drives, a potential wear point.

At the front of the unit, a perforated bulkhead allows the operator to have good visibility of the load, while a drawbar-mounted bin is an ideal receptacle for waste twine, net and bale wrap. Ease of access sees full length handrails and tread plates on each side of the machine, while daily maintenance is helped with the grouping of grease nipples into easily accessed banks.

Keeping things mobile falls to an oscillating-beam tandem axle layout that uses up to 90mm section steel dependent on models, in turn carrying 8-stud wheel equipment fitted with wide flotation tyres.

Standard equipment includes LED lighting, while an extensive list of options includes hydraulic braking, a multi-point electronic weighing system with digital display, joystick controls and a remote axle greasing system.

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Lely offerings for the future

Dutch robotic specialist Lely launched a new farm management application called Horizon at its recent Future Farm Days 2020.

Designed to connect data from a range of on-farm equipment and suppliers into one management system, it creates a real-time decision-support platform, to make the farmer’s life easier, the herd healthier and the farm more profitable, says Lely.

Developed over a 24-month period, with over 100 test farmers in seven countries, working with 75 engineers, designers, farm management advisors, veterinarians and AI specialists, the new application will eventually replace the current Lely T4C management system. It uses smart algorithms and the cloud to deliver data that is processed into actionable information that is always accessible on any device in a user-friendly way.

Lely claims the Horizon application unburdens farmers from routine decision making and helps them optimise their workloads, using integrated routines based on easily scheduled cow ‘touches’, create logical and more efficient workflows. It is also possible to assign a certain task to an employee and to schedule a time slot for the cow touch, rather than analysing different reports and filtering long lists.

Horizon is also able to connect and combine data from non-Lely sources into a complete solution for the farmer removing the need to enter the same data twice, while scrutinising individual data streams in different applications will no longer be necessary. Currently, connections with farming applications such as Dairy Comp, Uniform-Agri, CRV and Herde already enable farmers to synchronise information about calving and inseminations between applications. Lely’s ambition is to connect with more partners over time, to hand the farmer more smart data.

To ensure full support in the migration to Lely Horizon, existing Lely T4C customers will be personally informed by their Lely Center before the end of 2020.

The migration is planned in a phased approach, from country to country, over the year 2021.

Also launched at the event, Lely Exos is an autonomous concept for harvesting and feeding fresh grass to the herd.

The company suggests that feeding fresh grass makes better use of available roughage, suggesting “fresh” has between 10 and 20% more nutritional value than grass silage, as there are minimal losses typically seen during mowing, tedding, raking, harvesting and feeding.

Lely suggests that feeding fresh grass over an extended season reduces the amount of silage that has to be conserved, reduces the need for concentrates and bought-in feed and increase the margin made on each litre of milk produced.

Based around an all-electric vehicle that mows and feeds, Exos is light weight and uses soil friendly technology, that can be exploited throughout the growing season. Design to work 24/7 as feed requirements change, the system places no constraints on labour or time, while it is also designed to work in tandem with the Lely Vector automatic feeding systems.

In operation, Exos also collects field data as it goes about its job, giving framers live data on grass supply and lending itself to a further concept of delivering a targeted liquid fertiliser as it passes over a harvested area.

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Milking cows behind the barbed wire

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