5 farm gadgets you need to see at this year’s Winter Fair

The AgriLand team has picked out some of the most innovative farm gadgets we know you won’t want to miss at this year’s Winter Fair.

This new wireless calf feeder

Meet the calf feeder that does more than the most dedicated moo mum.

Farmers are already used to computerised calf feeders that act like a cow, in giving each calf freshly made milk little and often.

But this latest invention by Volac retracts the teats after each calf drinks, then washes and disinfects the teat before the next calf sucks.

It stops the spread of infectious disease and can even connect wirelessly to your phone, allowing you to adjust the amount each calf drinks with a few taps on your smartphone.

It can also notify you if a calf is drinking less than normal, so you can spot a sickness faster.

Each feed station can can feed up to 120 calves – up to four feed stations can attach to one base unit, meaning the computer unit can feed up to 480 calves with the right add-ons.

How much does it cost? Upwards of £10,000.

Test your milk without leaving the parlour

Why wait until the milk is already in the tank to find out you’ve got a cell count problem? Saber Milk allows farmers to spot problem cows as soon as the milk goes into the cluster.

The device uses California testing and flashes red if the cell count hits over 400,000, allowing you to treat the cow and hold out her milk at the earliest opportunity.

The Saber Milk points can attach to every fourth unit, meaning every cow will be tested three times a week.

How much does it cost? €1,300 a point.

Hot water in an instant

Flogas promises hot water on demand with the Greenspring water heater – up to 140L of hot water in just 10 minutes, with more heaters allowing higher volumes of water.

The clever bit is that the heating system can be set anywhere between 37ºC and 84ºC for more thorough cleaning. The firm claims the system is more efficient, with energy savings of up to 22% on farms.

How much does it cost? Normally £1,900, but Flogas is offering the system for £1,500 with 600L of gas included as part of a Winter Fair special offer.

Have you checked into the CalfOTel?

You can keep your calves snug in the CalfOTel – the portable calf hut creates a microclimate, allowing ventilation while also sheltering the calves from wind and rain.

Each hutch can house up to four calves in separate sections. Each calf has 90cm by 140cm of space

The units are fitted with handles to allow easy lifting using a telehandler or loader.

How much does it cost? £2,800 for the four-calf unit.

Swiftcool Tank

What’s cooler than being cool? Cheaper electric bills. Milk cooling is estimated to amount to 40% of a dairy farms energy requirements.

The Swiftcool tank offers typical savings estimated at more than €40,000 for a 100-cow herd over its lifetime, so this one’s not to be sniffed at.

Even if the tank is turned off, the temperature rise over 24 hours has been proven to average less than half a degree.

You can even control most of this high-tech milk tank’s functions wirelessly from your mobile phone.

How much does it cost? Starting at £16,000 (3,500L tank).

Dairymaster’s new SwiftCool tank

Seaweed meal

This is not technically a gadget; but we loved this seaweed meal by Owens Farm Solutions.

Made using seaweed sourced in Co. Donegal, the Co. Down firm sells solidified seaweed – a byproduct of liquid seaweed.

Liquid seaweed is a well-kept secret of the green industry, frequently used on golf courses and bowling lawns to give grass a lush green appearance.

But the solid version has also been shown to have health benefits for cattle and ewes, because of its high nutrient levels.

Seaweed contains more than 60 natural elements, amino acids, enzymes and trace minerals. In dairy cows, the benefits are claimed to include higher fertility levels, better overall health and a reduction in methane.

The feed is designed to be sprinkled on to silage or nuts. Around 120g a day equates to a cost of between 10p and 12p per animal each day.

How much does it cost? £23 for a 20kg bag.

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