High tech feed silo solution

A Cornish agri-tech business has developed a system to alert farmers when animal feed silos are almost empty. The system will also automatically place an order with their feed supplier.

Truro-based Glas Data’s system uses an innovative Internet of Things sensor to accurately track how much feed is being stored.

The sensor, which is quick and easy to install on one of the legs of a silo, translates the compression of the silo’s legs into weight to calculate how much animal feed is being stored. The LoRaWAN sensor can transmit data over a wide area of up to 20 miles and as it is low power, batteries will last several years.

Glas Data’s co-founder, Colin Phillipson, explained: “To find out how much animal feed is in a silo, traditionally farmers have either used a viewing hatch on the silo or banged on the silo’s side with a mallet. With a huge margin for error, there was scope for costly mistakes like over filling bins and wasting animal feed.”

With Glas Data’s system, data from sensors is displayed on the GlasCore dashboard – an easy to understand one-screen display which can be viewed by the farmer on their tablet, laptop or mobile phone.

“Access to this accurate data means farmers can measure efficiencies, by monitoring the amount of feed used each day. It will also be possible to calculate the feed consumption per animal and to correlate this against other productivity metrics,” added Phillipson.

Glas Data’s system can also be set up to send an email or text the farmer when the feed bin needs to be refilled, and to email an order to the farmer’s feed supplier automatically.

“The system is flexible allowing farmers to set their own thresholds, so feed orders can be placed exactly when they need them to be, without the farmer having to remember to place an order manually. From the feed suppliers’ point of view, our system will help them to pre-plan their orders and identify peak times,” said Phillipson.