Precision FarmingHarvestLab™: Silage in the best quality

The right food makes both animal and farmer happy Contractor Andreas Feil knows this well. Thanks to the HarvestLab™ 3000, he can analyze the corn harvest down to the last fiber while still in the field, thus harvesting only the best silage.

For the 140 dairy cows of the Walter live­stock farm in the Neckar-Oden­wald district, only the best silage is used in the silos – i.e. the right length according to the mois­ture level and with correctly dosed silage addi­tive. Both of these factors help achieve an optimal storage density and fermen­ta­tion. And that’s what matters for farmers and animals.

To ensure this, contractor Andreas Feil of Feil Agri­cul­ture & Service always has his own labo­ra­tory with him when he goes out into the field: The HarvestLab™ 3000 from John Deere sits under the small yellow bump on the discharge spout of his forage harvester 8400i and checks what chopped corn it is sending down the pipe 4,000 times per second. The modern NIR tech­nology measures the quality of the corn crop in terms of dry substance, crude protein, starch, neutral deter­gent fiber and acid deter­gent fiber and outputs all the data to the John Deere oper­a­tions center. The specific silage addi­tive is then metered on this basis.

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HarvestLab™ saves fuel and increases quality

“We are the only company in the district that is offering the HarvestLab™ service. This sets us apart from the compe­ti­tion”, says Andreas Feil, explaining his deci­sion to buy the HarvestLab™. He was also impressed by the fact that John Deere offers the asso­ci­ated soft­ware solu­tion at no addi­tional cost.

“The main reason for our purchase, however, was that the length of cut is auto­mat­i­cally adjusted in real time. This saves fuel and makes the crucial differ­ence in silage quality.” The higher the mois­ture content of the crop when it passes the HarvestLab™ sensor, the longer the fibres are cut.

“For me as a farmer, the only thing that matters in the end is the dry yield,” explains farmer Walter “A high mois­ture level doesn’t help me. Because if the water is gone, the yield and the density in the silage decreases. HarvestLab™ 3000 coun­ter­acts this by compo­nen­sating for the shrinkage with the length adjust­ment. The results in my silo have impressed me. Here, even at a glance, you can see a differ­ence from before.” In addi­tion, the farmer saves on the dosage of the silage addi­tive thanks to the accu­racy of the HarvestLab.

In the cabin, Andreas Feil always has the results of the analysis in view.


A precise overview of the quality

“We docu­ment every­thing. Our customers receive an overview of tonnage and mois­ture with their invoice. This is included in the price per hectare”, says Feil. “Farmers can purchase a complete ingre­dient analysis if they need to.”

We docu­ment every­thing. Our customers receive an overview of tonnage and mois­ture with their invoice.

Andreas Feil always has the analysis results avail­able on his iPad. His customers’ fields can be viewed as a map with conspic­uous features in terms of quality and mois­ture are marked there with precise loca­tions. Andreas Feil provides this map to his customers so that they, in turn, can change each area of their fertil­izer map in subse­quent years or adjust the seed they’re using. This makes farming even more successful in the next harvest season.

Andreas Feil is convinced that his invest­ment in the HarvestLab™ 3000 has paid off. That’s because at the moment, more and more corn is being grown in his region is no longer being accounted for by the hectare, but by the ton. With HarvestLab™, Andreas Feil settles up using a third factor: quality.