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New Sensor checks bin feed levels remotely.

Larger livestock units with many bulk bins, often on different sites, makes 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 monitors feed levels, 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 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.

"Many farmers still rely on a pole to tap on the side of the bin to determine the feed levels inside," said Tim Miller, ARM's environment specialist. "Outages occur more often than people realise and, with more remote sites, the need to assess feed levels is increasingly

important. Furthermore, 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 meals, pellets, liquid feed or other bulk ingredients in any shape or size of the container. They are priced £500, plus a nominal monthly fee for data captures and storage. This compares with up to £5,000 per bin for fitting load cells under existing bins.