In the course of a demonstration on "Automatic Feeding Systems for beef cattle" (https://hub.bovine-eu.net/examining-economically-efficient-housing-systems-for-beef-cattle/automatic-feeding-system-for-beef-cattle-farms) there was a webinar in Germany on May, 4th 2022. Organized by the Friedrich-Loeffler-Institute, the possibilities of using an automatic feeding system in the beef bull sector were discussed and the vector system of the company Lely was presented. The presented system can be seen at work in the following video (but in a dairy farm):
As long as the feed kitchen is filled appropriately (mostly via block cutter) the robot does the feeding completely by itself. It fills the mixing container, mixes the feed and distributes it to the appropriate group. In addition, it can push the feed and measures the height of the feed via laser to decide whether the animals need to be fed again.
During the presentation of the system, which can be viewed in the following video (in German), the clear advantages of an automatic feeding system in general were the precise mixing of small amounts of feed, the flexibilization of working time and the cost savings. As an advantage especially for bull fattening it was pointed out that automatic feeding offers the advantage to feed around the clock. This means that in summer, when the bulls are very lethargic during the day and therefore do not come to the feeding table, more feeding can be done at night.
In addition, the system was touted as very cost-efficient, since most of the work is done by the system itself and even filling the feed kitchen does not necessarily have to be done daily. In an example calculation for a farm with 480 bulls, which was set up in the webinar, there was an 80% reduction in labor costs. The significant savings in diesel (the system is electric powered, requiring only one diesel vehicle to fill the feed kitchen) is calculated in the webinar to reduce energy costs by over 60%.
Farmers Comment: Automatic feeding has convinced us for our farm (dairy cattle and bull fattening), as it allows us to organize the day more flexibly. Especially in times when there is a lot to do in the field, it can be a real relief. [Farmer M. from Lower Saxony]