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Technology advances in the agriculture industry: The Keenan Green Machine

March 7, 2018
Technology advances in the agriculture industry: The Keenan Green Machine

During ONE: The Alltech Ideas Conference, attendees at the International Welcome Dinner were greeted by a VIP guest, a 6-ton Keenan mixer wagon, also known as the “Green Machine.” After the recent Alltech acquisition of Keenan, Dr. Pearse Lyons, founder and president of Alltech, wanted to share the story of Keenan and show people what this mixer has to offer.  

The Keenan mixer wagon is the brainchild of Richard Keenan. Having first seen a total mixed ration (TMR) mixer wagon in the U.S., he wanted to make a real difference for farmers. He brought the idea to Ireland in 1978 and began improving upon it, tailoring it to suit the Irish animal diet. He went on to develop a system that was suitable for Northern Europe. The first Keenan mixer wagon was built in 1983; there are now machines in more than 35 countries across the globe.

The secret to the wagon’s success is the technology behind it. No matter what feed and forages you use, there are two things that are crucial: the quality and the consistency of the mix. Independent research shows the mix needs to be the same, day in and day out, to deliver the best results. That means evenly, thoroughly mixed feed that is never over- or under-mixed, with ingredients that are consistently added in the same order and ratios. The wagon does all this and more. It breaks down the mix to produce fibers with clean-cut ends, which help provide an optimum rumen condition when digested by the animal. This “optimal physical mix” allows for greater absorption of energy and nutrients.

François Derot, general manager of Keenan in France, discussed how farmers using the mixer wagon have seen an improvement in feed efficiency at ONE: The Alltech Ideas Conference.

“What makes this machine special is that it creates a unique mix, which is made by retaining fiber structure to ensure optimum feed efficiency,” said Derot. “Thanks to its gentle mixing action, the mix is left light and fluffy. The technology behind the mix is where nutrition comes into play.”

But there’s more to the Green Machine than meets the eye. PACE Connect, a small box that sits on the Keenan mixer wagon, provides farmers with guidance on the order of loading and mixing and the number of paddle revolutions to achieve this optimal physical mix. This technology draws on Keenan’s ingredient database, which separates feed types into eight different categories. This small box provides the farmer with the correct loading sequence and the paddle revolutions needed.

The PACE Connect database currently holds details on over 10 million categorized ingredients drawn from over 1,700 farms in a wide range of countries. This technology utilizes the mobile phone network to connect the mixer wagon to a secure site that can be accessed by authorized users from anywhere in the world on any web-enabled device.

This information can then be accessed by Keenan nutritionists, who can offer live support through their InTouch technology. Here, a live review service ensures the herd gets exactly what it needs every day. The nutritionists provide constant advice on how to improve the TMR to enhance the performance of the herd. This allows farmers to manage herd health, ration formulation, weight gain and yield.  

Between Alltech’s primacy in science and Keenan’s manufacturing strength and technological know-how, Alltech has a winning combination to deliver greater farm efficiency and profitability directly to its farming customers.

Keenan's technologies were discussed at ONE: The Alltech Ideas Conference. Audio recordings of most talks, including the talk on Keenan, from ONE are available by clicking the button below.

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