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Studies on electrical energy consumption of an automatic feeding system in dairy cattle farming

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

Citation:  2018 ASABE Annual International Meeting  1800560.(doi:10.13031/aim.201800560)
Authors:   Rosemarie Oberschätzl-Kopp, Josef Bühler, Anja Gräff, Sascha Wörz, Heinz Bernhardt
Keywords:   Automatic feeding system, dairy farms, efficiency, electrical energy consumption.

Abstract. Automatic feeding systems (AFS) for dairy cows gain in importance. But an increasing automation and mechanization can cause rising energy consumption in dairy farming. Therefore, the aim of the study was to analyze the electrical energy consumption of an AFS in dairy cattle farming presented by the example of the Lely Vector System. The main energy consumers of this AFS and the influencing factors (duration of mixing, number of driving rounds of feeding robot, number and structure of components, feed types, amount of feed) on energy consumption should have been investigated and practical recommendations should have been derived. The investigations were conducted in two Bavarian dairy farms with 120 livestock units (LU) and 130 LU. The electrical energy consumption of every single consumer of the AFS was collected by a wireless electrical measurement system. The surveys reveal a wide range of total daily electrical energy consumption of the feeding system between the two dairy farms (DF 1: 17.95 ± 1.53 kWh per day; DF 2: 13.24 ± 2.01 kWh per day). All tested influencing factors had significant effects on the electrical energy consumption of the AFS, whereas the mixing process was determined as the most powerful effect. Especially rations with long-fibred feed types in DF 1 required longer mixing durations for a more homogeny ration quality and resulted consequently in a higher energy consumption. Overall, the investigations show that the energy consumption of the Lely Vector system is on a low level compared to commercial feeding systems (e.g. fuel driven fodder-mixing wagons).

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