Nation Valley News
DALMENY — They’re really ‘moo-ving’ into the future with high-tech farm equipment these days.
Weagant Farm Supplies yesterday hosted a demonstration of their new sleek and multifunctional Triotrac self-propelled mixer feeder by Trioliet.
The presentation took place at Jarrett Petersen’s farm in Dalmeny just north of Vernon.
Weagants is the exclusive dealer in Ontario for this product and have sold five so far.
The epitome of new technology at its finest, the machine is four pieces of farm equipment all in one, taking the place of a chopper, loader, mixer, and feed dispenser.
Taking up less space in the machine shed, the unit is touted for its cost and time savings — cutting both fuel consumption and feeding time for farmers.
It’s long (33.5 feet) but slender at a mere eight feet wide. It stands just over nine feet high but can reach an extra six feet higher when the front bucket is fully extended. The model shown off at the Peterson farm is the 2000, the mid-size version.
So what does this piece of equipment do exactly?
The farmer drives it straight into the bunk silo and uses the Triotrac to scoop up the ensilage feed — haylage or corn silage. With surgical precision that avoids waste, the scooping process incorporates two long knives that “act more like scissors,” explains Triotrac expert Christiaan Brama.
Brama is a Holland native who works for Trioliet. Set to return to The Netherlands in two weeks, he normally works as their service guy. But with growing North American demand for the product, Brama and two other colleagues were sent over to Canada to train suppliers on how it is operated.
Once one type of is ensilage is extracted from the bunk, another type can be added to it in the same manner. A conveyor belt sends the feed into the mixer on the back of the chassis.
The only manual part of the operation involves adding the bags of minerals into a slot located at the front of the Triotrac.
After all the ingredients are inside the wagon part of the machine, the mixing phase begins, which occurs incredibly fast and can be completed in four minutes.
After mixing, it’s time to feed the animals.
The farmer simply drives down the barn aisle while the feed is dispensed out of a telescopic spout on the side of the machine..
This past weekend the Brian Burnett, owner of Carleton Corner Farms in Russell, bought his very own Triotrac, operated by his son, Ian.
The Burnetts recently flew to Germany to see one in action and were immediately amazed and interested.
Ian Burnett said the Triotrac has cut back on feeding time immensely. “With my new mixer I would begin feeding at 4:30 a.m. and end at 11:00 a.m., with the new one I start at 5:30 and finish around 8:30 a.m.”
His training on the high-tech equipment began on Tuesday of this week, and he’s pretty familiar with the controls already.
Weagant Farm Supplies asked him to be their official demonstrator, putting him in the hot seat at Petersen’s. (Not too hot, though, as the machine features an air-conditioned cab.)
Jarrett Petersen said he will eventually buy one for his farm. He’s “looking into getting one soon. I think every dairy farmer is looking into getting one of these,” he chuckled.
Petersen has lived and owned the farm for four years now, and he’s already a fan of new technology, currently milking 160 cows with three robots.
Convenience is very important to him.
The Triotrac is not only time-efficient but has a bigger mixer (than the Trioliet mixer he currently owns) and the fuel savings would be immense. “I don’t know what I spend right now on fuel, but this would be a third of that,” Petersen estimated.
He loves his current unit but this one would definitely be a huge upgrade, he said.
The sales manager of Weagants, Ault Van Bokhorst, was the main organizer of the showing and is head of sales for it in Ontario.
Van Bokhorst explained that “the standard machine costs around $300,000 … it costs a lot but is very cost effective.”
It’s top speed is similar to most farm equipment, travelling down the road at 40 km/h.
“It could be put on a tractor trailer but it is just as quick to drive it,” Van Bokhorst joked.
Weagant Farm supplies is currently planning a late summer open house to show off their new product to the public.
A crew from the dealership also showed it off recently by taking the Triotrac through the local Tim Horton’s drive-through. Unless the Winchester Tim’s has ever served a late-model exotic Italian sports car, the Trioliet just might have been the most costly vehicle to ever pull up to the order window there.