A new feeding system will allow dairy producers to regularly keep rations within reach of animals and may pay for itself within a year, according to Mark Futcher, DeLaval marketing manager.

The DeLaval feed pusher FPM300 is an automated plow system that travels along a feed bunk on a rail system and puts feed where cows can easily reach it. The company unveiled the unit at World Ag Expo in Tulare, CA. It will be for sale later this year.

A system that can frequently push feed up to cows “should lead to a higher dry matter intake, and cows should respond to that with higher milk production,” says Futcher.

The unit can be programmed to run as often as producers want. The plow moves at 19’/minute, giving cows time to lift their heads out of the way as it sweeps past. It is run by a ¾-hp electric motor and gearbox.

One system can handle two feed fronts that are each 1,000’ long, Futcher says. The curb-mounted tracks come in 10’ lengths, so the system can fit nearly any barn.

The plow adjusts for large piles of feed, floating upward as it evenly distributes the feed.

DeLaval worked on the concept for about three and a half years. It isn’t ready to make the price public, Futcher says, but the one-year return on investment comes from test farms and estimates of the impact feed push up may have on productivity.