Managing director Pat O’Donovan and technical manager Rick Crowley (pictured above) were on the stand to discuss the system with farmers.
“Aerating the slurry prevents a crust forming on the surface that traps in the gas. It has also been proven to increase the nitrogen content of the slurry making it more valuable as a fertiliser,” said Pat.
“There is no need to mix slurry when an aeration system is in place as this is an environmentally friendly method of keeping slurry in a homogeneous pumpable state that is always ready to spread.”
The company is going to install new systems in Iceland and in the Netherlands. Greenmount College in Northern Ireland has installed one of the company’s systems in a slurry store.
The system is relatively simple because it employs a low-energy consumption electric motor and roots blower pump, electric rotary valves and self-closing neoprene non-return outlet valve.
All the piping is 50mm class D uPVC which neither corrodes nor degrades. Working on a time switch, the system is fully automatic and would typically run for three to four periods each day without any need for human intervention.
One main pump is enough for up to 320 cows depending on the logistics of the shed. Furthermore, the running costs have been shown by independent evaluation to be as low as €1 per day. A typical cost for installing the Smart Slurry system is around €25,000 to €30,000 for a 100-cow shed.
ALL-WEATHER HUTCHES FOR CALVES
US-based Hampel Animal Care introduced its new Calf-Tel ECS calf hutch at the show. This elevated 5ft by 4ft hutch is designed for calves up to two months old and protects them from all-weather situations.
It is made entirely from plastic for increased durability, minimal maintenance and easy cleaning and disinfecting. One of the main features of the ECS is the sliding roof panel which protects both the animal and the feed from rain or sun.
There are back vents on the hutch to adjust the ventilation.
Each hutch costs €350.
FAST FEED DELIVERY FOR CALVES
A Milk Taxi won a silver award at EuroTier and is designed to transport milk to feed calves around the farm. It can mix milk powder and water to the required temperature and another model can pasteurise raw milk.
Up to 260 litres can be transported by the biggest model. The milk temperature is controlled by a heating system on the unit. The Milk Taxi can also recognise each calf individually and dispense the required amount of milk to that calf to correspond with its feeding curve.
Price for the 260l pasteuriser unit is around €6,000 and a self-drive battery powered unit can be fitted for a further €1,250.
BEDDING MASTERS AND ‘CUDDLE BOXES’
The Einstreu-Meister, or ‘Bedding Master’ (pictured above) won a silver medal at EuroTier. It is a self-propelled machine that travels along a rail on top of the cubicles, and distributes straw to the beds that are empty.
Made by Hartmann & Co in Germany, the unit is equipped with patented sensor controls which enable it to identify individual cubicles based on the pre-defined cattle housing layout and to differentiate between occupied and empty cubicles.
While Spinder’s Cuddle Box (below) provides a system that ensures easy and safe access between mother cows and their calves, as well as farmers.
The front section of the box comprises a plastic box, in which newborn calves can be placed safely and kept clean. Cows can easily reach their calves through the head rails. A long swing gate right next to the box allows cows to be easily and safely restrained by a single person if required. As a result, cows can be reached and even milked in the Cuddle Box just as easily and safely.
CALF TRACKING SYSTEM STRIKES GOLD
A focus on smart calf feeding at EuroTier saw this system from Förster-Technik win a gold medal. Changes in drinking patterns and reduced fluid intake are usually the first signs of disease in calves and often occur before any other visually identifiable symptoms develop.
However, it is generally difficult to detect changes in behaviour and reduced volumes of fluid intake, especially on larger farms or with staff on shiftwork. Also, trying to locate a particular calf in a large area constitutes an additional challenge.
The Smart Calf System delivers a comprehensive range of modules for monitoring calves both continuously throughout the day and directly as they take in milk feeds or water.
The system also supports the electronic location of calves.