Allowing dairy farmers to use a large part of their grassland to feed fresh grass day and night, the technical details are still under wraps, but we can reveal the electrically-powered concept vehicle not only monitors the percentage of fresh grass in the ration, but also collects field data.
Automatic feeding with fresh grass results in considerable savings, says the company, and test farm experience has shown that a dairy farm can meet half of its roughage requirements with fresh grass during the growing season, from early spring to late autumn.
“The nutritional value of fresh grass is 10 to 20% higher than grass silage, because there are no significant losses during harvesting, storage and feeding,” reckons Korstiaan Blokland, head of innovations at Lely.
Linked to the firm’s Vector automatic feeding system, the first Exos prototypes are already operational on test farms. The goal is to collect as much information as possible about autonomously harvesting and feeding fresh grass.
Lely plans to further develop the concept during the next few years and is also investigating using it to apply liquid fertilisers. It is not known how much the autonomous vehicle will cost or when it will be commercially available.