The concept for a fully autonomous electric vehicle which harvests and feeds fresh grass for cows has been unveiled by a Netherlands-based dairy equipment firm.
Lely has unveiled the Exos robot which aims to help dairy farming businesses become more circular while saving on labour and feeds costs.
The unique system is based on an electric vehicle that autonomously mows, loads and dispenses grass in the barns.
With Exos, dairy producers can use the nutritional value of their roughage more efficiently, and produce more milk from their own grassland, the Dutch company says.
Korstiaan Blokland, head of innovations at Lely, said the Exos was a 'new breakthrough' in exploiting grassland.
"Exos provides fresh grass frequently, day and night. This improves the taste and intake of fresh grass," he added.
"Manually feeding cows in the barn with fresh grass is based on the same principle, but the options are limited and it’s very labour-intensive.
"This system operates 24 hours a day, so it’s not limited by manpower or time. With Exos, Lely is introducing an innovation that is fully compatible with the transition to sustainable and circular dairy farming."
Trials have shown that a dairy farm can meet half of its roughage requirements with fresh grass during the growing season, from early spring to late autumn.
The savings can reach more than 2 euro cents per litre of milk, Lely explains.
The concept will now be further developed on test farms. In the coming years, Lely will further develop the system so that it can be sold commercially.