New sensor checks bin feed levels remotely

Larger livestock units with many bulk bins, often on different sites, make it increasingly difficult for farmers, managers and stock-people to remember to check the amount of feed remaining in them.

This problem has been overcome with a new electronic sensor device called the SiloMetric, supplied by ARM Buildings.

Installed in the top of the bin, it remotely monitors feed level, via a laser giving a precise reading in real-time. The information is 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 pre-determined level is reached.

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

Tim Miller, ARM’s environment specialist, said: “Many farmers still rely on a pole to tap on the side of the bin to determine the feed level inside. Outages occur more often than people realise and, with more remote sites, the need to assess feed levels is increasingly important. Importantly, if a bin bridges, then 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, ARM Buildings said.

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