Patz IntelliChain® Alley Scraper is engineered to handle manure removal automatically. This machine has three operation modes that can be programmed using the SmartSense® Control Panel. The panel is smart enough to “learn” and adjust to the weather, bedding, and manure changes. It also has a “bump” feature that pauses and backs up the scraper if it runs into an animal or obstacle.
Flexible design options make this machine great for fitting into most barn layouts, including existing barns. The drive has 4 different configurations for the chain to travel through. There are also 3 different scraper types for different alley widths and route types.
Did you know that for every 1 lb of dry matter a cow eats, it needs to drink about 7 lbs of water? Considered an essential nutrient, water plays a crucial role in the biological function and milk production of cattle. Cows should always have constant access to fresh water. However, winter weather adds an extra challenge to watering systems with freezing temperatures.
Water must be kept above freezing temperatures to remain liquid, but there is another reason to not let the temperature get too low. The rumen’s ideal temperature is 101° – 102°. Drinking water that is too cold will bring the overall temperature down, impacting digestion negatively until their bodies warm up again. Below are some examples of methods to keep your water systems from freezing over.
Electric Heaters: For water units that aren’t located in the warm barn, an electric tank heater can help keep water above freezing levels. There are also heaters that can be submerged into the water that won’t distract cows. Keep cords wrapped up or hidden, so cows can’t step on or bite them. Check often for cord issues and fraying. If the power goes out, these systems will end up failing unless your operation has a generator.
Water Surface: Breaking the surface tension of water can help to prevent a complete freeze over. Some operations use rubber balls that float to prevent ice from completely covering the surface. Cows only need to nose the ball down to grab a drink. Other farmers have suggested throwing plastic bottles of salt water in their tanks as well with a similar effect. Keeping water moving also prevents freezing. Some operations like an automatic watering system while others prefer a water circulator to keep contents moving.
Insulation: Pipes and plumbing apparatus should be wrapped in an insulating material to help prevent pipes from freezing. Some farmers use tires filled with rocks to insulate their water tanks. The tires absorb heat from the sun during the day, and the rocks help to keep the heat longer and evenly distributed to help prevent freezing.
The work of a farmer never stops. You depend on equipment to perform multiple tasks throughout the day. Follow these basic maintenance measures and your equipment will work as hard as you do.
Educate – First and most importantly is to take the time to educate yourself on your machinery tires. Learn what the recommended load weight is, tools needed for easy repairs, and know the recommended tire pressure. Know the maximum speed ratings for the tires. Going too fast causes tires to heat up and breaks down the rubber of the tire quicker.
Inspect – Check your tires frequently for punctures, cracks, and other signs of wear. Check the tire pressure and adjust as needed for different farm jobs or terrain.
Inflate – A simple, yet often overlooked, maintenance technique is to inflate tires to the proper level. Look at tire tread for excessive or uneven wearing. If tires seem low, fill them up so they are less likely to be damaged. Overinflated tires will tend to bulge and can be damaged with overuse. Underinflated tires don’t grip the ground as well and can lead to wheel slip.
Ballast – Adding weight to your tractor can improve traction and tire slippage, but it can also lessen fuel efficiency. The best way to know how much weight (if any) to add is to follow your machine’s recommended weight-to-horsepower ration for the best weight distribution and performance.