1997 - Volume #21, Issue #3, Page #26[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
Computer-Controlled Portable Cattle Feeder
The "Cyber Feeder", which is still in the prototype stage, consists of a 6 ft. wide, 12 ft. long, and 8 ft. high steel hopper divided into three bins and mounted on a trailer. Three feed stations mount on one side of the hopper and are each equipped with an electronic sensor. As the animal enters the feeding station, the sensor "reads" a computer chip implanted in an ear tag and then sends the information to an on-board computer. The computer calls up input data sup-plied by the rancher about the animal and activates augers, which dispense the correct amount and type of feed.
The entire system is powered by a solar panel that mounts on front of the hopper and keeps a pair of deep cycle batteries charged.
"It takes all the guesswork out of feeding cattle and can be customized to fit al-most any need," says Vigesaa. "The input data about the type and amount of feed for each animal is downloaded onto the computer by the rancher, using a laptop computer. The computer keeps track of how many times each cow has entered the feeding station and how much it has eaten. The system will dispense only as much feed as is programmed and can be programmed to dispense the feed at whatever times you want. Feeding small doses keeps livestock from overeating and improves feed efficiency.
"The bins each hold 60 bu. of feed and can be filled with ground grain, whole grain, or pellets. The bins can be loaded with the same feed or three different feeds which can be blended according to each individual cow's feed requirements. The system's nine augers are driven by gear motors that are powered by a 12-volt D.C. motor. The augers mix feed from different bins and de-liver the feed rations to the feeding stations. Each station can feed 20 to 25 cows.
"So far we've made only one prototype model which was tested last summer at North Dakota State University. We think money can be saved by getting the cattle out on pastures sooner in the spring and by keeping them out later in the fall. Cattle could be put out on poor grass and left longer when using this new feeder. It's not an in-expensive system - we estimate the selling price will be $31,500. We think it'll be especially beneficial to dairy farmers and to purebred cattle operations who want to calibrate exact rations for each animal."
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Sheyenne Advanced Feeding, Rt. 2, Box 52, Cooperstown, N. Dak. 58425 (ph 701 797-2301).
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