SMART technology which links feeding regimes with raw material silo installations is pointing the way ahead for farmers keeping on top of their ingredient planning.

Recently, LvLogics, SiloSpi technology had been tested on a number of livestock farms with V-Mac Silo installations on a range of different applications.

Fergal Sherry, V-Mac Silo sales manager for McAree Engineering, explained: “We have been looking for a solution that uses smart technology to let farmers know how much feed is in their feed silos for a long time. Feed consumption can often be faster than expected and the meal bins can run out of stock.

"This puts severe pressure on busy feed compounders as they may have to schedule deliveries at short notice and often at weekends, thereby incurring extra costs and may find staff unavailable," he pointed out.

The bottom line is, he added, is that if feed supplies are interrupted, valuable animals will be under stress, performance will suffer and profitability on farm will be reduced.

According to Mr Sherry – who is a dairy farmer himself: “The solutions that are available are either very expensive, albeit very accurate, or inconsistent. When Lvlogics introduced its SiloSpi solution it ticked all the boxes for us straight away and offered so much more.

"It provided accuracy to within 3%, is cost efficient and allows the farmer to access valuable data on a range of devices using an easy to follow app.”

Barry Finnegan, CEO of Lvlogics, added: “Apart from showing farmers what’s in their feed silo, it can also monitor humidity, a key aspect in determining feed quality and helping protect your silo. It also removes the need for farmers to physically check the silo to see what’s in it, improving farm safety.

Using the app, farmers can choose to share this information with their feed supplier, thereby allowing them to more efficiently manage deliveries and reduce re-supply costs.

The University College Dublin Research Farm, at Lyons Estate, headed by Dr Eddie Jordan, has been using the innovative system since February, to monitor feed levels in its V-Mac Silos and to check the humidity and temperature of the various livestock diets stored in the six meal bins.

Backed by Lely, the Lvlogics system provides accuracy on silo contents to within 2/3% and Dr Jordan and his busy team can access all this data easily on smartphones, or on the office computer.

When feed stocks fall to a predetermined level, they receive a text alert so that further supplies can be ordered in good time. Their feed merchant also has access to this data allowing them to manufacture any speciality diets and arrange delivery in a more cost-effective and sustainable manner.

The laser sensors used by the system have a patented self-cleaning mechanism to deal with the dust in the silo, so the data supplied is always accurate.

According to Dr Jordan: “Prior to installing this system, monitoring feed stocks was very time consuming and we didn’t always get it right. It can be difficult to see what is in a silo and manual checking takes time.

“Also, due to changing weather conditions, the humidity and temperature in the feed silos could change due to condensation etc. So we could have unforeseen problems with feed bridging in the silos or going mouldy.

"Humidity checking is becoming more important with more complex feeds which have a range of additives and are more reactive to heat and humidity."

SiloSpi can be retrofitted at low cost to any existing feed silo, with the work carried out by the Lvlogics installation team.

* V-Mac Silos will be displaying the SiloSpi solution on their stand at the Balmoral Show next week for the first time.