Archive Article: 1998/03/13 - Farmers Weekly

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Archive Article: 1998/03/13

13 March 1998

Swell Swales… Linda Brown with the ewe that she and father, Joe, sold for £1500 at Swaledale Sheep Breeders spring event at Kirkby Stephen, Cumbria last week. A shearling gimmer from John Bradleys flock made £1400. Ewes averaged £509 and gimmer hoggs £310.

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Archive Article: 1998/03/13

13 March 1998

Ritchie Farm Equipments Roots and Grain Feeder bucket can now be fitted with a hydraulic shutter which opens and closes automatically in response to operation of the feeders auger – it opens when the auger delivers feed and closes when the auger is reversed. Fitting, says Ritchie, is simple and no additional valves are required. Price is £221.

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Archive Article: 1998/03/13

13 March 1998

Not to be outdone is Wiltshire contractor Alexander McKie who has fitted a 25t capacity spreader onto a stretched 400hp, five-wheeled Horsch TT 351-5 unit (see FW Machinery, Feb 13).

With hydraulic drives to two sets of bed chains and a set of vertical spinners, the whole outfit is said by Mr McKie to have cost in the region of £200,000. £13,000 of this total was responsible for the machines Terra-tyres. Hydraulic power is also used to drive the Horsch – a hub-mounted Poclain motor for the front wheel and a second motor to drive the other two axles. To cater for different conditions, drive can be directed to create three-, four- or five-wheel traction. Spreader emptying time is claimed to be in the region of 90sec and maximum spreading width, 15m (49ft).

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Archive Article: 1998/03/13

13 March 1998

Less concentrate

Improved grass management has cut concentrate use by 200kg a cow at Westway Farm. But both Mr Watkinson and his consultant, Norman Ford, recognise further cuts will be made by manipulating the calving pattern to coincide with early grass growth. The aim is to reduce concentrate use per cow to 500kg a lactation.

Adopting the Westway Farm approach to early turnout offers a significant chance for Mr Gardner to lift profits at Rhodes Farm. Consultant Richard Foster is hoping to have all cows turned out earlier in spring next year.

As well as utilising early grass, early turnout should also see an improvement in grass productivity. Although two cows a hectare stocking rate is low, Mr Foster suggests the hilly nature of grassland will be the limiting factor to increasing it.

Less concentrate

Improved grass management has cut concentrate use by 200kg a cow at Westway Farm. But both Mr Watkinson and his consultant, Norman Ford, recognise further cuts will be made by manipulating the calving pattern to coincide with early grass growth. The aim is to reduce concentrate use per cow to 500kg a lactation.

Adopting the Westway Farm approach to early turnout offers a significant chance for Mr Gardner to lift profits at Rhodes Farm. Consultant Richard Foster is hoping to have all cows turned out earlier in spring next year.

As well as utilising early grass, early turnout should also see an improvement in grass productivity. Although two cows a hectare stocking rate is low, Mr Foster suggests the hilly nature of grassland will be the limiting factor to increasing it.

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Archive Article: 1998/03/13

13 March 1998

Latest development in the gas- fired mobile batch drier range available from Master Farm is the introduction of the new 2000 Turbo series. Comprising an electrically driven 9t model and a pto powered 10t capacity version, both models are said to meet EC requirements regarding safe operation of the burner. Prices start at £14,090 for the 9t version.

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Archive Article: 1998/03/13

13 March 1998

INDEPENDENT sprayer testing has come of age, with 21 centres now able to carry out tests on farm sprayers.

Such tests are statutory in several EU countries, but a voluntary approach in the UK means the test can be matched to need.

The Agricultural Engineers Association has approved a schedule covering 50 points, each checked by skilled engineers working from AEA validated forms.

Sprayers must be thoroughly decontaminated and serviced before being presented for evaluation at a test centre or on-farm. "If it isnt the test will not be carried out," points out AEA consultant John Handbury of Mid-Tech.

Good preparation also avoids time wasting during testing. For example, a new set of nozzles will mean much less time will be taken testing them.

"Checking sprayers with accurate test gear is vital if the best and most economical use is to be made of todays expensive chemicals," Mr Handbury notes.

Individual nozzles

For example, pressure gauges are evaluated against an accurate standard and flow rates of each individual nozzle monitored, since it is notoriously difficult to see different flow rates.

That ensures cross boom accuracy which can be concealed by electronic compensating or conventional systems which may give the correct rate per hectare but hide variable distribution.

Checks are made on all valves, hoses, fixings, filters, hydraulic fittings, wiring and any other part of the sprayer that is unsafe or may lead to inaccuracy.

Factors that affect even spray distribution are also tested.

Cost varies between £80-160 according to the size and complexity of the sprayer. "It is a good investment which is soon recouped in accuracy and less downtime. It also shows due diligence in the face of legal requirements and assurance schemes," comments Mr Handbury.

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