Almost two years after the introduction of the Lely Vector fully automatic feeding system, its Dutch manufacturer expresses its delight with feedback from users. “The roll-out went very well. Deliveries began in November 2012 and the system is already working successfully in seventeen countries! This is more than we had even dared to hope for” says product manager, Teus de Jong.
The Lely Vector was introduced in 2012. This automated feeding system consists of a feed kitchen with a feed grabber, plus a mixing and feeding robot. The feed kitchen is the area in which several feed types are stored, the feed grabber then selects, picks and loads the feed into the mixing and feeding robot; which in turn automatically delivers the mixed ration to the correct place at the feeding gate in the barn.
Higher milk production
“Throughout this worldwide roll-out, we have gained experience in a very wide range of different feed types and climatological conditions. The system has certainly proved itself” adds De Jong. “After its introduction, there were comments on the internet expressing doubts about the feed kitchen with the unique feed grabber. It is this in particular that many users are now really enthusiastic about. The feed is grabbed from the blocks just moments before feeding, which means it is that extra bit fresher when fed to the cows. This, in combination with the feeding of consistent and custom-made rations, results in higher milk production.
This is also perfectly suitable for large businesses
The feed height sensor on , the Vector mixing and feeding robot makes it unrivalled. With this device it is able to measure the quantity of feed left at the feed fence,and knows if it has to deliver fresh feed or simply move on. Therefore there is always exactly enough fresh feed available, never too much and never too little. Last year a number of Vector systems were also installed with two feeding robots. De Jong says: “The success of these ‘dual’ systems demonstrates that this concept is very flexible and perfectly suited to larger farms . In principle, five hundred cows can be continuously fed from one feed kitchen.
Less energy consumption
Users are also very happy with the lower energy consumption, reports De Jong. “If you compare the consumption from the Lely Vector with the consumption from feeding with self-propelled or towed feed mixers, the savings are considerable. It is also much cleaner to use and it works quietly in the barn all day long, barely disturbing the cows and that also shows in the milk production.”
Two years after the introduction of the Vector, it’s the reliability of the system which has proven to be one of its great virtues. De Jong laughingly says: “We even have installers who complain that they’re not getting enough experience with the Vector because there aren’t enough problems with it! This is said tongue in cheek of course but it does say something about the system’s robustness”.