“Test and validation farms are an important sparring partner for us in terms of product improvements,” says Teus de Jong, Senior Barn & Feeding Product Manager at Lely.
It’s not enough to test our products in the workshop; it’s essential to test and validate them in practice. That isn’t always a simple process, as there are often quite a few start-up problems in the first phase. Every dairy farm has its own specific situation which the robots have to adapt to. De Jong says, “Our Lely test customers deserve respect and appreciation. They have to be patient, and be able to deal with setbacks. Sometimes, processes come to a standstill, or we ask the farmer to go the extra mile.”
We learned a lot from the Overbeek family, thanks to the situation in their barn and the feed they use. For example, the barn has electric doors, a narrow feeding alley, and an even narrower crossing of the feeding alley. The Vector Mixing and Feeding Robot had to be able to do short runs, and navigate reliably and safely in this situation. At the same time, we had to prevent feed from getting under the skirt, and cows making the system stop. Together, this meant some new challenges, which we solved by making the software even smarter.
The silage blocks were also pretty compact, and the grass silage sometimes very dry. At the beginning, it was difficult for the feed grabber to get hold of the feed, and the scissor system broke down regularly. This was an important motive for us to develop a new feed grab with a completely revamped pull-up system.
The dry silage also caused problems with mixing, so it was necessary to add liquid by-products to the ration at the time to get a good result. Our Farm Management team also learned a lot in this respect. Adding liquid by-products was completely new, and had never been used at other test farms, but is now applied worldwide. All in all, we learnt an incredible amount during this first testing period with the Overbeek family. The Overbeek family was a Lely test customer at Lely from 2011 to 2013, following on,they have also been validating products for Lely. Validation is the last step in the development process before improvements are included in standard products, in which we test whether our developments continue to work well in various situations. For example, we also successfully validated the faster auger motor at the Overbeek family.
Over the past 10 years, the Overbeek family has made an enormous contribution to the development of the concept. The cooperation has always been very pleasant, and the family has also acted as an important ambassador for automatic feeding with the Lely Vector. In this respect, the Overbeek family is a good example of farming innovators, and has undoubtedly helped us deliver more than 1,000 Vector systems worldwide.
Kees, Sjors and the family therefore deserve a huge compliment, as do all other Lely test and validation farms.
March 24, 2021
New Lely Vector features keep farmers future-proof
What's the secret behind the success of the Lely Vector automatic feeding system? Continuous innovation and further development, based on expertise and excellence. With the latest features added to the system, Lely is helping farmers stay profitable, sustainable and future-proof. The Lely Vector is now successfully used in a wide variety of dairy and beef cattle farms in 31 countries. This year, the system celebrates its 10th anniversary.
March 8, 2021
Lely produces 1,000th Vector automatic feeding system
Lely produced the 1000th Vector feeding system today. A special milestone, as they have doubled production in the past three years. The Vector feeding system is now used in 31 countries on a wide variety of dairy and beef cattle farms. The 1000th Vector is on its way to Società Agricola Rendena San Michele's dairy farm in Italy, to feed a herd of 117 to 130 lactating cows plus associated young stock, heifers and dry cows.
Jan. 18, 2021
Hot weather does not affect the quality of silage blocks
On behalf of Lely, the University of Milan conducted a study into the feed quality and heating of blocks of corn silage in a feed kitchen. During the days in which the study was carried out, the temperature was more than 30 ºC. However, the temperature of the corn blocks rose by only 2 ºC.
Nov. 9, 2020
New feed grabber for the Lely Vector feeding system
Lely introduces a new feed grabber for the Lely Vector automatic feeding system. The feed grabber hangs in the feed kitchen and is used to load the mixing and feeding robot with an accuracy of up to 98%. The new design improves both the functionality and lifetime of the feed grabber bucket, and the maintenance costs.
Sept. 30, 2020
Lely improves the feed accuracy, capacity, mixing and cutting quality of the Vector feeding system
Lely introduces a faster auger motor for the Vector feeding system. The higher rotational speed of the auger improves the mixing and cutting quality. As a result, less mixing time is required, which increases the capacity of the feeding system. The faster auger motor also empties the mixing tub better. This increases the feed accuracy of the next ration.