Banhazi, T. M. and Lewis, B. and Tscharke, M. (2011) The development and commercialisation aspects of a practical feed intake measurement instrumentation to be used in livestock buildings. Australian Journal of Multi-disciplinary Engineering, 8 (2). pp. 131-138. ISSN 1448-8388
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The aim of the research presented in this paper was to further develop and field test a simple and robust feed-mass measurement apparatus in order to facilitate the on farm feed intake measurement of a distinct group of livestock. The underlining technology described in this article is known as a 'mass-flow' measurement technology. After progressing through a number of development stages, the final version of the feed measurement apparatus was developed in close collaboration with an industrial partner. The measurement apparatus underwent significant and continuous changes during the study. The hardware and software were progressively improved on by the utilisation of magnetic coupling technology, the development of a calibration function, the integration of a control system and user interface. These improvements were the results of assessment of the instrument and the recursive identification of opportunities for enhancements. Experiments conducted under controlled conditions proved that the reliability and precision of the apparatus was excellent under simulated field conditions and was not affected by change in feed temperature and/or feed composition. A limited number of tests were also conducted on a commercial pig farm with encouraging results. Future development of the feed-measurement unit has the potential to improve the technology to a level where actual feed wastage can be measured and reduced by innovative use of the underlying technology.
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