24 July 1998

Diet feeder top as Brits sweep Welsh board…

By Ian Marshall

BRITISH manufacturers swept the board in the Royal Welsh Shows Alban Davies Award for the item of new equipment considered to be of benefit to Welsh farmers.

And this years winning machine could not be more new – the award went to Shelbourne Reynolds for its 6cu m capacity Powermix Popular complete diet feeder, which was launched at the Royal Show.

Intended as a low-cost feeder for herds of 40-70 cows, the machine is designed to handle round bales of straw, hay, silage and other home grown feeds, with the chopping and mixing of the ingredients being done by a central auger.

Once mixing is complete, the material is discharged through a side door for feeding into passages or troughs. Prices for the Powermix Popular start at £7500.

Five highly commended awards covered sheep handling, a foot bath for cattle, bale handlers and a bale wrapper.

Batemans Thorpe Sheepvet is a portable, free-standing crate, containing an inner frame which allows one man to treat ewes in a standing position and, through a combination of only levers and springs, rotate the animal to work on its feet and underbelly.

In operation, as the ewe walks through the crate, it trips the rear gate closed and also releases a spring-loaded head yoke. The top frame is then pushed down until side clamping bars, through a pawl-and-ratchet mechanism, secure the animal in the standing position.

To expose the rear end of the ewe for easy access for operations such as docking, the whole side panel can then be swung outward through approximately 20deg. For work on the animals underside, the operator depresses a foot operated locking mechanism and rotates the animal and cradle clockwise through 12deg, so turning the ewe on to its back.

The other highly recommended livestock aid went to Paxton for a foot bath specially designed to reduce the cost of the treatment of cattle for digital dermatitis.

Chemical is applied to the animals feet as it walks through a shallow bath containing some 15.75 litres (3.5gal) of solution – as opposed to the 225 litres (50gal) required in a conventional bath used to treat the complaint – which is held on a butyl lining covering a foam rubber base.

Called the Paxton MSF1, the unit measures 2.5m long x 84cm wide x 15cm deep and is priced at £465.