Mr. Wennström and his wife, Tiina, expanded their barn rather significantly over the past summer. The old barn of 2,500 square metres, completed in 2009, was expanded with an additional 2,000 square metres. With the barn full by summer, the 4,500 square metre barn will have 280 milk cows and 500 animals in total.
Ilpo Wennström assures that the more precise feeding of the animals and automated feed distribution both improves the farm’s productivity and reduces the owners’ workload.
Reliability is decisive
“Our old barn had Pellon Group’s filling tables, mash mixers and feeding belt. All of the equipment worked so flawlessly that we didn’t even think of any other feeding systems when we carried out the barn expansion last summer,” Mr. Wennström says.
The feed factory in the Wennström barn has three filling tables. One of the old ones continues its work dosing round bales directly into an 18,000-litre mash mixer. The two newer filling tables, Pellon Module DFD, equipped with Twin Rippers, have been designed for ripping and dosing silage taken from the clamp.
“The filling table is also an excellent interim storage place for silage. For example, if severe frost is expected, the supplies for several days can be lifted on the table. The filling table also makes the workload required by the barn more flexible with considerable ease,” explains Jouni Uusisalo, regional sales manager at Pellon Group.
The rippers in the filler table are driven by their own electric engine, eliminating the maintenance-prone belt transmission. The lower ripper drum rotates faster than the upper one, making the feed on the filler table behave in a controlled way. The joint operation of the drums guarantees that the feed mass ripped from the lump is sufficiently consistent when it is dropped to the transverse component conveyor. The ripper drum has three types of blades. In addition to straight blades, there are interchangeable blades pointing to the left and right.
"The Twin Ripper in the new filling table is exactly that—a ripper. The drum blades do not have a counterpart against which the silage would be cut. The cutting and grinding are done in the mixing device, Cut Mix, with two vertical screws,” explains Harri Ojajärvi, bovine feeding product manager at Pellon Group.
The component conveyor, used by the two new filling tables, rests on six scales. Precision weighing of components makes it possible to tailor the mash exceptionally precisely for each feeding group. Wennström intends to further expand the assortment of farmed crops and include also protein crops. For example, using a mixture of wheat and peas has given good results at the farm. With the ingredients fed into the mixing device from three tables, there is a whole new dimension to customising mash with different crops.
“In my experience, careful and precise feeding of cows is a very important factor when improving the profitability of milk production. With three filling tables, I can be sure that each group gets the right kind of mash,” Ilpo Wennström adds.
The conveyors at the ends of the component conveyors and from the mixing device to the feeding belt are encased. This solution ensures that not a single straw falls on the floor of the feed factory. The returning blades of the conveyor that lifts mash to the feeding belt finely level the flow of feed going to the belt.
The new Cut Mix screw mixer uses the highest-quality raw materials available. All parts that are in contact with the feed components are made of stainless Silonox instrument steel.
With the migration from the old mixer with a 22kW engine to the new one with two 22kW engines, the total time for creating a batch of mash was reduced from 17 minutes to five.
“This made the work faster and lowered the electricity bill,” Ilpo Wennström explains with satisfaction.
The length of the feeding belt totals 159 metres. It was decided that the exceptionally long conveyor is operated with a single, four-kilowatt engine. The transmission is implemented with bevel gear and has a considerably high coefficient of efficiency compared to the commonly-used wormgear solutions.
Safe to use
The speed of the belt has been increased, moving the belt 50 metres per minute in the Wennström barn. This gives each group their dose of mash rather quickly. In contrast to the earlier models, the diameter of the belt-moving cone has been increased by a third, nearly doubling the traction surface between the cone and the belt. The belt ends are connected to each other with a clear, hinge-type connector. This kind of a connection makes it possible to replace even a short section in case of a mechanical fault caused by an external object.
Ilpo Wennström's experience says that the power consumption of Pellon Group’s feeding system is pleasantly low. All feeding device engines have frequency converters that control start-up and operation, eliminating start-up interference in other electric devices of the barn. With frequency converters, even the fuse size remains reasonable.
Quality calf house
Pellon Group also supplied the calf-side furnishing to the Wennström barn. When selecting the furnishings, the Wennströms were mostly looking for practical use and easy cleaning. The easily detachable fences in the calf house make it easy to empty the stalls with a small loader. The smooth plastic surface of the stall elements is easy to clean. The front of the individual stalls has a sturdy rack for fixed feed and drink. Beestings are separated from the robot directly to the Urban Milk Shuttle, which brings and doses it for the calves. Older calves can use the Urban Alma drink machine that uses the official electronic EU earmark for identifying the animal.
The Wennströms’ complete feeding system for calves, heifers and milk cows is part of a modern farm’s highly automated overall solution. The Wennströms carefully designed the feeding system in the barn down to every detail with specialists from Pellon Group. The result in the large barn in Sykäräinen is an appropriately working and highly automated feed distribution system.