Having missed last year’s event due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Dairy-Tech show returned to Stoneleigh Park last week.
We round up a handful of products, little and large, that were showcased on the day.
Kiwi company shows wireless loadbars
The European branch of New Zealand-based Gallagher displayed its wireless livestock weighing system, which is claimed to be the first of its kind in the UK.
Available in two weight options, 2,500kg or 5,000kg, the loadbars use Bluetooth to connect to the touchscreen weigh scale, or they can be connected to a mobile phone via the Animal Performance app, essentially turning any smartphone into a set of scales.
This wireless system, Gallagher says, makes weighing livestock easier and also eliminates common issues with traditional loadbars due to cable failure or damage.
The bars are powered by a lithium battery, which, based on four hours of weighing a week, will be good for 10 years, as the loadbar only turns on when it senses a weight.
The 2,500kg, 1,000mm loadbar set is priced at £1,609, and the 5,000kg set retails for £2,259 (inc VAT).
New tagging technology from Shearwell
Best known for its livestock management and animal identification systems, Somerset-based Shearwell Data debuted its metal cattle electronic identification (EID) tags.
The tags are made from stainless steel and have laser-marked identification numbers – an apparent world first for cattle-specific metal EIDs.
With metal tags proving traditionally popular with dairy farmers, the new additions have been designed to improve retention rates, with the plastic part of the tag positioned within the ear to avoid snagging.
Prices start at £2.09/tag, and a redesigned tagger is available for £24.
Also new from the livestock management specialists is the X6 stock recorder. The handheld device can be used for both cattle and sheep and has a built-in RFID tag reader.
The X6 can be used to record animal-specific data, whether it’s breeding, births, weights or treatments.
It’s also pocket-sized, with roughly the same dimensions as a mobile phone, making it easily transportable across fields or in the yard. Prices start at £1,580.
Calibre Control SCiO feed analyser cup
Not too dissimilar in looks to an oversized coffee mug, Calibre Control’s SCiO is a portable, handheld forage and feed analyser.
As a near-infrared (NIR) device, it works by assessing a feed or forage sample that is placed inside the cup to determine the quality of the dry matter.
Within the cup, an LED light interacts with and is absorbed by the sample. Some of this light is reflected back onto a sensor, which, via some complex maths, is converted into readable data as to the quality of the feed sample.
The cup pairs with a mobile device via Bluetooth, and data is stored on a cloud server. Results can then be accessed from a mobile app.
For dairy farmers, it allows for precise control over the quality of mixed rations, enabling farmers to adjust or add supplements as required.
It can also be used to give a moisture reading on grass crops, providing laboratory levels of accuracy in as little as 10sec. In theory, that means farmers should be able to harvest silage when it is at an optimum moisture level.
The cup is £1,500, and an annual subscription to the calibration services will cost a further £1,500.
Early lameness detection from Hoofcount
Hoofcount has launched an automated lameness detection system.
The so-called Hoofsense is compatible with the Excel automatic foot-bath range, and encompasses a pressure mat that sits beneath the basin.
This monitors the cows over time to give their gait an average score. Any changes in the way they walk will affect their score, identifying if there is a variation in the pressure placed on a particular leg.
The system works in tandem with an electronic identification system, so that the health of individual cattle can be assessed, as well as the health of the whole herd, both of which will attain a score.
Data is stored on a cloud server and can be accessed via a mobile app, from which the herd manager will be notified if any changes in gait are detected.
Calculating that an average case of lameness costs about £300 a cow, Hoofcount estimates annual savings of £4,000-£8,000 for every 100 cattle.
Prices for the Excel foot-bath start at £6,400, and the Hoofsense system costs an additional £4,500.
Ubco pushes zero-emissions bike
Marketed as an alternative way of getting the cows in, Ubco’s 2×2 electric bike could be the zero-emissions replacement for farm quadbikes or UTVs – albeit with limited carrying capacity.
The bike is good for 75 miles of range and has a top speed of 30mph. It will take six hours to charge, which equates to running costs of less than £1 for each full charge.
The dual electric drive is powered by a 50V lithium-ion battery and is virtually silent.
Prices for the 2×2 start at £5,000 (ex VAT).