HANNOVER/GERMANY, 10 November 2019 : Inspired by the growing need to protect the finite resources of our planet, and by Alltech’s Planet of Plenty vision, KEENAN has focussed its R&D team on “Green” sustainability-related projects. Under the motto “Green on the outside, greener on the inside,” the team — based at their head office in Borris, Co. Carlow, Ireland — are working on a suite of environmentally friendly initiatives, with one of these being showcased at AgriTechnica in Hannover, Germany this week.
For more than 35 years, KEENAN diet feeders, renowned for their lower power requirement, have been delivering superior results on-farm, helping farmers to increase feed efficiency; producing more milk and beef from less feed. KEENAN recognises the importance of continued investment in green R&D to help reduce the carbon footprint of itself and its customers. In fact, the company has already made significant in-roads in this area.
Carbon Trust validated
The Carbon Trust has validated KEENAN machines as the first environmentally sustainable diet feeder in the world, proven to reduce methane emissions on-farm. Having investigated the output from the KEENAN diet feeder and reviewed the data from the KEENAN controller, the Carbon Trust established that the KEENAN machine can increase rumen efficiency by delivering feed that is more easily digestible for cattle. This means that less energy is required and produced by each animal.
The future is electric
KEENAN believes that in the future much of the machinery used on-farm will move from fossil fuels to electric power. Due to the continued shortage of farm labour, it understands that many of the machines of the future will also require autonomous capabilities. With this in mind, and building on the existing environmentally friendly initiatives, the team is currently working with several industry partners to develop exciting prototypes in the area of autonomous machinery.
Speaking at AgriTechnica, one of the world’s leading trade shows for agricultural machinery, Matt Higgins, KEENAN general manager, described the current collaboration between KEENAN and tractor manufacturer, Acres Machinery: “We are working with Acres owner and founder, David Doran, on developing a range of KEENAN feeders that can easily work alongside the new iTarra diesel-to-electric, fully autonomous tractor,” explained Higgins. “Becoming electric-ready means focussing on smaller loads, fed more frequently throughout the day — quite a move away from the ever-larger mixer wagons we often see in the more traditional machinery space.”
An early prototype KEENAN e345 with a proprietary attachment and drive system is on display at the KEENAN stand at AgriTechnica (Hall 25, Stand E05). Key in the delivery of this project will be a machine that retains the unique mix qualities of the KEENAN machine that are so important to the company’s loyal customer base. The range of electric-ready KEENAN feeders is due to be commercially available from 2021.
Helping to generate electricity
On the theme of electric power, KEENAN machines are currently generating electricity across Northern Ireland. Several KEENAN machines are being used to feed anaerobic digesters, which generate electricity in an environmentally friendly manner, helping to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. According to Queen’s University Belfast, anaerobic digesters have the potential to reduce Northern Ireland’s emissions by 2.4 million tonnes of CO2 annually, a reduction of 12%. The KEENAN R&D team have been working closely with AD plants in Northern Ireland to maximise the output from their facilities.
Using KEENAN to build recycled plastic roads!
In yet another novel area, KEENAN has been working extensively with Scottish-based plastic roads company MacRebur. The company uses KEENAN machines to mix granulated plastic waste with an activator developed by MacRebur. The KEENAN range of MechFiber machines use a gentle horizontal paddle mixing action to produce an optimal mix that is never over- or under-processed. This — coupled with the KEENAN controller, which gives clear instructions on the loading order and weight of ingredients — leads to maximised mix quality and consistency. MacRebur plans to take this new style of recycling global, using local plastic waste to build local roads. Projects are already underway across Africa, the United States and Eastern Europe.