Irish company Keenan, which specialises in offering nutritional advice alongside the paddle-type diet feeders it manufactures, has formed a separate InTouch AgriTech business unit to offer feeder owners the opportunity to monitor more closely what is being fed to their cows, so that any issues can be identified and addressed before they can affect cattle performance.
The firm’s PACE system, which tells the operator how much of each ingredient has been loaded, and sounds an alarm once the required mixing time has been met, is now well established. Now, though, Keenan has now extended its capabilities with the launch of its subscription-based InTouch Agritech remote analysis system.
With many livestock units having to depend on fewer staff, and/or greater numbers of temporary workers, the company points out that mistakes in ration mixing can still be made even where on-board weighers are used. In addition, it says, problems with, for example, a poor quality area of silage in a clamp, may not be immediately identified until it has been consumed by the cows and shows up in the form of decreased milk yield or liveweight gain.
Subscribers to InTouch AgriTech benefit from a team of the firm’s nutritionists based at the centre, who constantly monitor whether the ingredients in each subscriber farm’s cattle TMRs are being measured and mixed correctly, according to the quantities, mix order and mix timing prescribed by the farm’s Keenan nutritionist. Data is transmitted using cloud-based technology, to the firm’s live monitoring InTouch centre
Any errors made in ingredient quantities or mixing time are identified immediately, and herd managers/owners are contacted so that instant action can be taken to correct any issue before it can have an adverse effect on the daily milk output of dairy cows, or the daily liveweight gain of beef cattle.
Keenan says that data it has collated so far from farms which have adopted the system suggest milk producers feeding any more than 4kg of concentrate in the parlour appear to be subject to diminishing returns in terms of milk yield response from any additional quantity above this. It is this, says the firm, which can justify the investment in the technology to make better use of other feeds.
A one year contract rental of Keenan mixer plus InTouch support is being made available for £11 per day. This provides full access for the buyer to the monitoring, performance-recording and problem-warning service around which InTouch AgriTech is based.
To back its claims, Keenan is offering a two year, 80 per cent buyback of any Keenan diet feeder bought as part of a machine plus InTouch AgriTech deal but does not achieve a minimum of 500 litres benefit in year two, with no additional adjustment made to concentrate feeding levels. Owners are required to follow InTouch support advice.
The firm says that ultimately it intends to offer users of other diet feeders apart from Keenan machines access to InTouch AgriTech technology and support, including vertical auger feeders.