New sensor checks bin feed levels remotely

Larger livestock units with many bulk bins, sometimes on different sites, can make it difficult for poultry producers to remember to check the amount of feed they contain. Now a new electronic sensor, called SiloMetric, has been launched by ARM Buildings.

Installed in the top of the bin, the sensor remotely monitors feed level, using a laser, giving a precise reading in real-time. This information is then transmitted to the farm office computer, tablet, or mobile phone, via the cloud. Colour coding allows for a quick visual check on the state of the bins and an alarm can be set to alert the user when a pre-determined level for each bin is reached.

Manufactured by the Spanish equipment company Rotecna, the sensor is battery powered so no cables are required, which makes fitting simple. The sensor head can be easily removed easily for cleaning, without the need to go into the bin – a useful safety feature.

“Many farmers still rely on a pole to tap on the side of the bin to determine the feed level inside,” said ARM’s Tim Miller. “Outages occur more often than people realise and, with more remote sites, the need to assess feed levels is increasingly important. And if a bin ‘bridges’ this can also be picked up, as the feed level will be seen to remain static.”

The SiloMetric sensors can be used for meal, pellets, liquid feed or other bulk ingredients in any shape or size of container. They are priced at £500, plus a nominal monthly fee for data capture and storage. This compares with up to £5,000 per bin for fitting load-cells under existing bins.

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