Eurotier 2018 took place this week in Hannover in northern Germany. Considered by many to be the best livestock show in Europe, it takes place every two years.
The show is a mix of breeding and feeding technology for all livestock with machinery and also lots of equipment for milking and cooling milk on display.
The level of automation in the pig and poultry enterprises is exceptional and some of the indoor production systems for dairy and beef are quickly heading in that direction.
Companies like Lely, Trioliet, and Schuitemaker are almost fully automating the feeding of livestock from the silage pit to the cow. It was interesting to note that most companies had new versions of many of these feeding tools on display and many were now electrically powered.
Milking companies like GEA, DeLaval, Lely and Dairymaster are also very close to automating the milking process.
GEA had a version of its robotic rotary on display. At €45,000 per place and a minimum size of 28 places on the rotary, it’s a cool €1.26m at entry level. The largest robotic rotary GEA installed like this is an 80-point rotary in Canada.
Lely now has a waiting list of over seven months for the monobox robotic parlours in Ireland. Over the last five years, Lely has modified the robots so that they are more efficient with lower running costs.
The scale of the feeding equipment at Eurotier was phenomenal and most of the feeding machinery and slurry equipment on display was targetted at large-scale operators or contractors.
One American farmer with 6,000 cows on the Trioliet stand was looking to automate his whole feeding process as there is little variation in his daily feeding routine, and labour in America is getting harder to get.
There was a big move towards digital farming and using information from machines and equipment to try and save time and reduce documentation. Many of these devices were aimed at smart tracking of feedstuffs and detailed measurement and analysis that many of the pig and poultry systems need on the continent.
An initiative by Nestlé and Lely was launched at Eurotier to introduce the Lean approach for dairy farmers. Lely CEO Alexander van der Lely told the Irish Farmers Journal that he feels applying a Lean approach to dairy farming can help farmers meet increasing consumer demands to produce safer and better quality food.
He said: “Lean is all about reducing waste and higher standards so it can only be beneficial.”
Irish company Dairymaster won a Silver award for innovation for a tool called Mission Control that optimises the efficiency of a rotary milking parlour. There were over 30 people working on the Dairymaster stand with the majority from Ireland.
Another Irish exhibitor was Ian Lahiffe from Gort, Co Galway, who was working with Allflex. Ian is based in Beijing for Allflex and his key objective is to get more Alllfex products into a Chinese market that has huge scale at farm level, but, again like many production systems suffers from high costs that make profit margins for the farmer very low. Enterprise Ireland had a stand with Herdinsights and Cheetah on the stand attempting to get a European foothold for products.
On the livestock side, the large genetics companies such as World Wide Sires, Eurogenetics and Masterkind, had cattle on display, with clients coming to meet staff and hear what sires are performing well on farm and on paper.
Eurotier 2018, a huge show with something for everyone in a purpose-built venue that is linked to all transport options, is worthwhile visiting if only to get a feel for how global agriculture is evolving.