Thursday, 03 October 2019 11:44

Feed robot boosts yield, saves costs

Written by  Staff Reporters

A robotic feed pusher designed to refresh and remix feed is running on a South Island dairy farm which reports a resulting increase in production and significant labour savings.

The DeLaval OptiDuo remixes and repositions supplementary feed in barns and on feed pads to ensure cows have 24/7 access to refreshed feed. This is helping increase their consumption and reduce waste.

 “Previously we had been pushing back feed with a tractor-mounted tyre,” said Bruce Eade, who farms pedigree Ayrshires and Holstein Friesians near Gore. 

“When we started autumn calving and winter milking we decided we could justify buying a robot to give the cows automated access to more palatable feed day and night. 

“The cows are now getting well-mixed and refreshed feed seven times in 24 hours, giving us a yield increase of almost 1L/cow/day with no other changes.” 

The old system required a trip to the barn every night after 9pm to push up feed, a job now done by the OptiDuo robot. The machine has a twin-spiral rotating auger which lifts, mixes and aerates the feed then repositions it closer to the feed barrier. And it is versatile, able to handle varying amounts of material and a wide range of feeds including total mixed rations, silage, hay and fresh grass.

The OptiDuo runs along an induction line and can be programmed to alter feed times and frequency.  “Automated feed mixing and repositioning helps maximise dry matter intake and minimise feed sorting, and it allows cows more time for lying down and ruminating,” said DeLaval’s Katrina Lee. “We’re seeing interest in this technology from dairy goat farmers too.”

More like this

Milking cluster milks runner-up award

DeLaval has come away with the runner up prize in this year’s Fieldays Online innovation competition with a new milking cluster that eliminates the need for conventional liner changes.

One robot makes the difference

A small Waikato dairy farm with one Lely Astronaut A4 robot has proven that robotic milking is also effective with a small herd.

Feed robot turning in results

A robotic feed pusher installed on a South Island dairy farm is reportedly increasing production and offering significant labour savings.


Back the sector that backs NZ

OPINION: The biggest issue currently facing our industry is environmental policy, writes Beef+Lamb NZ chief executive Sam McIvor.


Meat quota rates remain vital

A jump in the value and volume of New Zealand’s sheepmeat exports to Europe and the UK shows why preserving WTO tariff-rate quotas is so important, claims the Meat Industry Association (MIA).

Lamb price down, but not weak

While lamb prices are starting the new season at around 16% below last year’s levels, they are not outright weak, according to the BNZ.


Machinery & Products

Let aura feed the mob

In a move that appears to have been repeated by many equipment manufacturers, Kuhn confirms it currently working on several…

Battery charger range recharged

Projecta's popular ‘Charge N’ Maintain’ automatic battery charger range has now been recharged – with the introduction of new features…

» The RNG Weather Report

» Latest Print Issues Online

Milking It

Eyes have it

OPINION: Painting eyes on the backsides of cows could save their lives, according to new research by Australian scientists.

Walkers versus cows

OPINION: A North Yorkshire teacher has become at least the second member of the public to be trampled to death…

» Connect with Dairy News

» eNewsletter

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter