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A Novel Magnetic Device for Intercepting Metal Foreign Objects in Total Mixed Rations

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  Applied Engineering in Agriculture. 33(1): 55-61. (doi: 10.13031/aea.11722) @2017
Authors:   Carlo Bisaglia, Elio Romano
Keywords:   Feeder mixer wagon, Foreign body, Hardware disease, Magnet, Test protocol.

Abstract. The non-selective feed ingestion of ruminants may result in the involuntary swallowing of foreign bodies. The latter, if metallic and sharp, can cause a syndrome defined as traumatic reticuloperitonitis (TRP) or hardware disease. The incidence of this condition is variable, affecting mainly dairy cows (87% of cases) and representing 3% of the causes of death in cattle. The metal objects found are extremely diverse but, given the difficulty in systematically eliminating them from livestock rations, there is the tendency to use practices that can isolate or make them harmless. These techniques are based on the magnetic separation of metals for which two main approaches have been developed: magnets placed in the animal‘s reticulum and magnets placed in the feeder mixer wagon (FMW). The first have long been known and rely on the anatomical features of ruminants, the second introduce the possibility of separating metals before they come into contact with the animals. The latter have been set up as a result of the diffusion of Total Mixed Rations (TMRs) with FMWs allowing the control of all the rations to be concentrated in a single machine. Nevertheless, there has been a tendency to overestimate the value of prophylaxis through magnets on the mixer wagon, the conclusion being that they are effective, but not fail-safe. This study presents: i) a novel rotary, multi-axes permanent magnet with a large magnetic surface area, ii) criteria to evaluate the performance of magnetic separators for TMRs, and iii) a comparison between two magnets designed to establish the effectiveness of the proposed method.

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