Real-Time Measurement of Silage Moisture Content During Loading of a TMR Mixer Wagon: Preliminary Results
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Proper dry matter intake in dairy cows is a key factor to meet nutritional requirements and optimal performance, reducing the incidence of metabolic diseases. Moisture content of silages, can undergo variations during storing, affecting the total dry matter daily consumed by the animals. The aim of the study was to develop a system, based on microwave resonance technology, to measure the silages moisture content during feed mixer wagon loading. A commercial microwave moisture sensor for bulk materials was used. It was first calibrated over different types of silages (corn, high moisture corn, barley, soybean) using samples collected from different dairy farms located in Lombardy (Northern Italy), then it was mounted behind the loading drum of the conveyor arm of a horizontal self-propelled mixer wagon and integrated in an on-line measurement system designed to record in real-time and continuously the silages moisture content during the feed mixer wagon loading. The system was tested at the University of Milan experimental farm (Landriano, Italy). Preliminary results highlighted that the microwave sensor provided, except for soybean silage (R2 = 0.95), a moderately accurate silage moisture data (R2 = 0.62 for corn and high moisture corn silages; R2 = 0.61 for barley silage).
KeywordsMicrowave sensor Moisture Silage Real-time TMR wagon
The activity presented in the paper was co-funded by Regione Lombardia in the framework of POR FESR 2014-2020 (Axis I, Objective 1.b.1). Project P.L.U.S.—Precision Livestock Unifeed System.
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