ATVs are already pretty versatile machines, but they are set to get even more multi-faceted if a Northern Ireland farmer’s patented design goes into production.

William Allingham designed his mounted Quadcrate to go on the farm’s Bombardier Traxter 500 ATV and enable it to do four jobs more quickly than a trailer.

For a start, straps that go round the head and stomach of a sheep mean it can be used to transport a fully grown animal when lambing outside. A bedded box, meanwhile, gives lambs shelter until they can be got back to the farm.

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The farmer-invented quadcrate can do four jobs in one.

The second role the Quadcrate happily takes on is that of sheep wire unroller. Mr Allingham made a frame and bracket that allows a roll of sheep wire or two rolls of barbed wired to be unrolled in about 10 seconds.

That led on to the machine’s third role, as a wire tensioner. A simple clamp system fixes onto the wire, with a chain going round the tow hitch to do the pulling. It may only be an ATV, says Mr Allingham, but it can pull sheep wire perfectly straight at much higher tensions than could be achieved with normal wire strainers.

All that was needed now to make fencing a one-man job was to equip the unit to carry posts. So Mr Allingham fitted brackets on both the front and rear racks, enabling it to carry 20 posts at each end.

He points out that the Quadcrate can carry up to 200kg and handle awkward items such as troughs, bags of meal, sheep, muck and buckets. He also made a simple attachment system by attaching S-shaped hooks to a chain and then hooking them on to the squares of mesh on the back of the unit to give a tight fit.

The Quadcrate can be removed in a few seconds, he says, but it is so useful that it stays on for 80% of the time. It can also fold down while still attached to the ATV, making the whole thing smaller and easier to handle.

Mr Allingham is looking for someone to take on the manufacture and marketing of the Quadcrate. He can be contacted at willsinventions@hotmail.com