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.
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.