Lely has unveiled what it believes is the future for feeding dairy cows with a machine that can cut crops, then deliver feed to a herd without an operator onboard
Lely is getting ready to add its Exos fully autonomous grass feeding machine to its list of reasons why milk producers should become fully applied Lely dairy operations.
The Lely Exos has been designed to take away all the hassle and time to, feed herds as this one machine can be programmed to go into the paddock, cut the juicy fodder and return it immediately to the feed troughs in time for breakfast.
And while all this is happening on a pre-programmed basis, you don’t hear a thing, as the Exos runs on electric/battery power.
And while the machine is still pacing through its testing phases it has already captured a great deal of attention from producers that can see its full potential as a means of saving both time and money.
The Exos will spell the end of tractors and hay equipment on dairy farms as this all-encompassing machine will capture feed with much higher nutritional value – resulting in a higher producing herd.
“The nutritional value of fresh grass is 10 to 20% higher than that of silage grass because harvesting, conservation and distribution lead to significant losses,” said Korstiaan Blokland, innovation manager at Lely.
This is why the Exos has been developed to cut fodder, then distribute into the herd’s feeding system without human intervention.
The Exos has a big advantage over other ways of gathering feed as it can distribute fresh cut fodder, day and night – without a sound.
This method improves the palatability of fresh grass to the animal and also helps its ingestion. The manual distribution of fresh grass to the trough works on the same principle but is time consuming and the options are limited.
“This new system operates continuously and is therefore not limited by manpower or time,” added Korstiaan Blokland.
The automatic distribution of fresh grass not only saves considerable money but also reduces the drudgery of the work, and that factor is what Lely plans to use to succeed with the Exos.
The Exos will allow dairy farms to use the ideal feed, more fresh grass grown in the paddock. This in turn will decreases the need for buying in more expensive silage, and also save on concentrates costs and reduce the purchases of other feeds.
Tests on pilot farms have shown the Exos can meet half the forage requirements of a dairy farm with fresh grass during the growing season, from early spring to late autumn.
The savings can represent up to more than 2 cents a litre of milk, says Lely.
The Lely Exos has been designed to be light and compact, to prevent any soil compaction and work in tandem with the Lely Vector automatic dispensing system.
The two systems alternately distribute freshly cut fodder and other feed.
The Lely Exos offers much more than an automated machine process, it also closely monitors the amount of fresh grass in the ration.
The system also collects data from each paddock and alerts the farm manager in the event of a crop reaching a reduced level and cannot be harvested.
Lely engineers are also working on developing the Exos to apply liquid fertiliser when required for each paddock. This is an extension of the Lely Sphere system, that produces ecological fertilisers.
With the first prototypes of the Lely Exos already working around the clock on pilot farms in the Netherlands, it is hoped the commercial realisation will be imminent.
The intensive testing underway will also serve to collect data on the daily use of fresh fodder and show how this feed source can be scaled to save costs and increase milk yields.
Once this data is collected about the autonomous harvest of fresh grass it could be a compelling option to switch your dairy operation to a whisper quite all-eclectic powered Exos feed operation.
See the Lely Exos in action at: www.lely.com/exos/