More than 250 hectares (617 acres) of stand space was needed to house the 2,300-odd exhibitors at last week’s EuroTier livestock machinery show. Steven Vale joined the 160,000-strong crowd to review some of the Hanover highlights.
It has taken two years for German-firm Hirl to develop the prototype of a self-propelled mixer wagon to work without a driver.
The tub still has to be filled manually (auto version in the pipeline), but from then on the 13cu.m. vehicle drives unassisted to the feed passage and also unloads its cargo automatically.
Fitted with a number of laser and infrared sensors, the project could take another two years to finish.
The prototype retains a cab for the test work, but this will probably be ditched on the commercial version, which could carry a price premium of up to £40,000 (€50,000) more than a conventional self-propelled mixer.
Ultimately, the company hopes to produce a range of automatic machines in capacities up to 26cu.m.
Strautmann is targeting farms with 50 to 200 cows with a simpler, easier to use and repair, lower-priced entry-level self-propelled mixer wagon.
Called the Sherpa, it is available in capacities of 12cu.m (single auger machine), 14cu.m (single auger) and 17cu.m (twin auger). The trio of machines will go on sale sometime early next year.
As for the companies’ more sophisticated Verti-Mix machines, it now supports a new look and more compact design, and now uses four-cylinder 144hp engines from Perkins, rather than the previous six-pot 178hp John Deere motors.
Dutch-firm Peecon unveiled the prototype of a self-propelled mixer wagon based on a Linde industrial forklift.
Dubbed the Biga Pacman Gen2, equally novel is the 12cu.m tub filling system which sees the front-mounted silage grab travel along a series of guide rails over the top of the cab to empty its contents.
It is powered by a 116hp Deutz engine and providing this winter’s tests are successful then the unusual mixer could go on sale sometime mid-2015, for a target price of just under £80,100 (€100,000).
The company also says the engine is powerful enough to handle larger capacity tub sizes.
EuroTier saw the first Kuhn-branded automatic livestock feeding systems made by Norwegian company TKS.
The move follows a recent agreement between the two companies whereby Kuhn sells the systems in France, Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Finished in the Kuhn name and livery, longer term the two companies could even join forces on the development front.
Previewed at the 2013 SIMA event, a number of Jeantil’s 5cu.m automatic feeding wagons are already installed on French farms. Guided by a wire sunk into the ground, and providing the surface is flat then the machine can be installed at any farm, says the company.
Prices depend on the number of feed bunkers and level of automation required, but as a rough guide, range from £120,200-£200,300 (€150,000-€250,000).
Capable of loading, mixing and feeding up to 12 tonnes per hour, the company is keen to sell the system in the UK.
Dutch-firm Schuitemaker previewed the second generation of its in-house designed and built Innovado automatic feeder.
Like the prototype launched in 2008, this latest 6cu.m version operates as a stand-alone system with no need for any dedicated feed bunkers. Much of the original technical input has changed though, and the silage block cutter from the prototype has been replaced by a dedicated milling head capable of handling all feedstuffs and tackling 4.5 metre-high (14ft) silage clamps.
The 450-litre capacity diesel tank is sufficient to keep the 80hp Deutz engine running for a week, and the machine steers on the centrally positioned rear wheels.
Capable of feeding up to 900 animals, price including transponders in the ground and safety rails/guards, is expected to be about £192,300 (€240,000).
The second generation of Austrian manufacturer Hetwin’s Aramis feed robot supports a new look and safety guards. Called the Aramis II, new operating software and a larger touch-screen terminal are also included. Another new feature concerns the 10 stainless steel sections of the inner tub lining, each of which can be individually replaced as they wear.
With a tub capacity of 5cu.m (1,000kg), the company reckons to sell around 20 units a year to customers in Austria and Germany. Fullwood also sells the Aramis, badged as the FMR feed robot, and will soon have access to the second generation machine.
Thaler has developed a novel and hydraulically-operated system to quickly lower the roof of the ROPS/FOPS structure on its 2000 Series mini-wheel loaders by 260mm.
Useful when working in buildings with a low ceiling height, on the smallest model (2126), the technique reduces the height of the vehicle to just 1.85m. The roof is lowered via the simultaneous operation of a joystick and rocker switch.
The €1,300 (£1,040) option can also be retro-fitted, and the technique could at some point migrate to the larger 3/4000 Series models.
Weidemann has taken its Easy Protection System (EPS) for its Hoftrac loaders a stage further with a hydraulically-folding version called the EPSPlus.
Shown in prototype form, the option uses a pair of rear-mounted cylinders to lower the roof to the rear to reduce the height of the vehicle on the smallest tyres to 1.96m.
Activated by a left-hand joystick and rocker switch, the option will initially be offered on the Hoftrac1160 and 1260, and is available early 2015. Prices have not yet been announced.
Dutch-firm JOZ used the German show to reveal its first feed pushing robot.
Called the Moov Feed Pusher, the 1m-wide rotating and stainless steel drum is capable of cleaning feedstuffs from the centre of a feed passageway at speeds of 3-6m/min.
Like the company’s manure robots, the 580kg battery-powered vehicle is guided by transponders and a gyroscope, which eliminates the need for any guidance strips on the floor or walls.
Equipped with safety overload and collision protection systems, the device has an adjustable audible alarm and emergency stop button.
It is still battery-powered and travels on guide rails along the feed passage, but the latest version of GEA Farm Technologies MixFeeder features a number of big changes.
Unlike the horizontal paddle-type mixing system on the MixFeeder, the MixFeeder Pro uses a single vertical auger.
Supplied with silage and concentrates from feed bins, another difference is the tub on the MixFeeder had to be completely filled before the contents can be mixed, while the auger on the MixFeeder Pro turns during loading. The newly-designed and angled tub hangs from a pivoting frame, which during mixing tilts by five degrees to the left and right to thoroughly mix the ingredients.
Austrian-company Wasserbauer used EuroTier to launch the Butler Gold self-propelled feed pusher.
Unlike the current rail-mounted Butler Silver, the battery-powered and stand-alone newcomer is guided by small magnets drilled into the ground. The driving-route only needs to be calibrated once, and the vehicle is capable of travelling unassisted between buildings.
Material is diverted to the feed fence by a horizontal auger, and a single machine is claimed to be able to look after up to 1,000 animals.
Due to hit the market early next year, the Butler Gold will cost about £14,020 (€17,500).
Unlike the current T10, which is suspended on a guide rail, the rail above Trioliet’s T15 automatic feeding robot is purely to supply electricity to the electric wheel motors.
With a capacity of 3cu.m, and suitable for feeding up to 700 animals, the prototype went directly from Hanover to a Dutch farm for further tests.
Production is due to start early next year, and providing all goes to plan then a T15 could be heading to the UK before the end of next year.
The use of a ROPS/FOPS structure not only helps to reduce the price but also the height of Zago’s 5cu.m capacity Kinghawk 50 to just under two metres (6ft 5in).
Located next to the driver, the 30hp Iveco diesel engine can be swapped for a quieter-running electric motor to power the four horizontal mixing augers.
The Kinghawk 50 is the smallest model in a range which extends to 13cu.m, which requires a more powerful engine or electric motor.
Operators seeking a bit of wet weather protection might like to know the frame can be fitted with Plexiglas.
Kinghawk 50 prices start from about £20,030 (€25,000).
Front-mounted fertiliser and seed hoppers are commonplace, but German-firm Trentmann Systems must surely be one of the first to add a slurry tank to the front of a tractor.
Called the Trenttank Speedy, the idea is to replace the weights normally required at the front of the tractor. Slurry is transferred via a pipe to the rear as the main tank empties. Made from toughened polyester, the 2,500-litre model at EuroTier has an empty weight of 300kg.
Available in capacities from 1,000-5,000 litres, one of the larger sizes has already been sold and works on a Class Xerion.
The latest incarnation of Fullwood’s robotic milking machine has an all-electric and silent running milking arm.
This, says the firm, reduces energy usage for teat cup attachment, while the new crate design enables cows of all sizes and breeds to be milked using one standard machine.
The M2erlin also has a twin-exit gate configuration which enables the milking machine to act as a segregation gate. The robot’s herd management software controls where each individual animal is directed after being milked, with cows exiting via either a side gate or straight ahead once the feed manger lifts out of the way.