SFR puts new roughage reweigher into operation
Schothorst Feed Research (SFR) has started using the new roughage reweigher. The old feed return weigher was more than 30 years old and needed to be replaced. This new weigher has been developed together with GEPES and SFR into a machine that meets all requirements.
SFR registers many data during nutritional research in dairy cows. For each cow, it is recorded exactly how much roughage and concentrate the cow receives per day. Each cow has its individual feeding trough which is fed by the feeding robot during the day. The next day, the feed that the cow has not ingested must be weighed back, to get an accurate view of how much the cow has actually eaten.
To do this as efficiently as possible, the new roughage return weigher is now being used. “It is actually a large vacuum cleaner that sucks up and weighs all roughage residues,” explains Ingmar Thomassen, cattle test supervisor at SFR. Ingmar develops the software (PMS) for SFR in which the trial data is stored. By making the connection between the feed vacuum cleaner and the software, it has become a unique machine.
Together with the technical service, animal caretakers and the experimental supervisors, various options were examined. With 123 feeders, speed is just as important as accuracy. In the end, the Kärcher weigher was chosen, where a hydraulic arm with suction hose is attached to the front. This allows each bin to be emptied easily and quickly. To accurately weigh the residual feed, an indicator with weighing bars is mounted under the collector. The roughage return weigher then forwards the data to the PMS. After which the data can be processed immediately by the researchers. In this way, all feed residues are accurately, quickly and easily visualized per cow.
For nutritional research, it is crucial to determine as accurately as possible the number of kilograms of roughage eaten per cow, per day. By subtracting the weight of the residual feed from the number of kilograms of roughage fed, the actual intake can be calculated.
The animal caretaker indicates on the tablet in the stable which box he is in and then sucks up the remaining roughage. When he is ready, he confirms this on the tablet, after which the scale is read. The location and amount of residual feed are stored directly in SFR’s central database via the Wi-Fi network. This makes it immediately visible to the test supervisors. This technique means that the risk of data loss is minimal, and it is possible to work with real-time data. In addition to roughage at animal level, concentrate intakes, milk fat and milk protein content, milk quantity, animal weights and body condition scores of each cow are recorded daily. In this way, SFR has a very extensive data collection to be able to carry out the best possible nutritional research.