Feature: Keenan InTouch communications system | Part 1

By: Chris McCullough

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Chris McCullough heads to the Alltech Keenan HQ in Ireland to find out how Keenan is helping farmers stay InTouch with their feeding

The Keenan MechFiber345 with InTouch connected
Around 60 per cent of new Keenan feeder wagons are currently fitted with the InTouch system
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Since its first introduction in 2009, Keenan’s InTouch communications system is now being used on 3000 farms across the world, feeding more than 300,000 animals.

The system itself has undergone some changes in that time and, in 2011, it developed further to use cloud technology as a vehicle for transporting information from farm to computer.

Now under the umbrella of Alltech Keenan, InTouch is adding some extra features, including a new control box and a new app to make it easier for farmers to use.

Basically, InTouch is a live review and support service with skilled nutritionists using simple technology to ensure farmers are mixing the exact rations their animals require every day.

As well as ensuring the mix is correct in the feeder, InTouch measures herd performance, whether it is dairy or beef, by collecting live data and sending it back to Alltech hubs across the world.  

This information can then be used as an extra management tool to help farmers improve herd health, ration formulation, weight or yield gains and costs in order to free up cash flow.

Overmixing a ration can result in it turning into wet balls, depending on the dry matter content of the silage, and can leave it unpalatable for the cattle.

Keenan says the gentle paddle mixing action of its mixer wagons ensures that all ingredients are continually moving during the mixing process.

The new InTouch control box with an 8-inch colour VDU
Keenan has introduced a new InTouch control box with an 8-inch colour VDU easily read by farmers when mixing rations

With the addition of the InTouch technology, this helps create an even mix that is neither over-processed nor sortable every time.

Milk yields have been proven to increase and beef finishing times reduced with the use of the InTouch system as rations are mixed with the correct levels of ingredients required as set out in the nutrition plan.

The new InTouch controller consists of an 8-inch colour display unit that is much easier for the farmer to view in all weather conditions.

It can store up to 100 rations and has larger digits to indicate quantities of loaded ingredients and the number of rotations the mix has been through.

By using the new InTouch app farmers can control their feeding operations from their own mobile device, making it much easier to receive real time updates.

The app is available on both Apple and Android devices and gives farmers the options of creating or editing ingredients with ease. On top of that, they can alter dry matter percentages or make changes to numbers of cattle in each pen when feeding.

Keenan say it sells 1000 new mixer wagons per year and 60 per cent of them have the InTouch system installed.

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There are a number of InTouch hubs set up around the world where all the information from farms is processed. A new hub for Canada and the US will be set up this year

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