27 September 1996

Shepherdess on wheels at Easton

By John Lambkin

THE other week Les Malin, area manager for E P Barrus, pulled into Easton Lodge with a trailer full of ATVs.

The arrangement was to try out a new D-Bat diesel ATV based on a Polaris 4 x 4 chassis and powered by a 406cc Yanmar air-cooled engine.

I have always felt the addition of an ATV to our machinery list a difficult one to justify on purely commercial grounds, but it would be interesting to see how much use we could get out of one.

200 store lambs

Finding work for it was not difficult. With the arrival of 200 store lambs and the lack of a good sheepdog, the D-Bat proved to be an excellent tool from which to harass sheep into a holding pen for drenching and vaccination.

My wife, Rosi has teamed up with the ATV and together make a formidable duo sufficient to make the most errant of sheep submit.

The model we have has excellent load space both front and rear for shepherding, is quick, manoeuvrable, has good ground clearance, and looks rugged.

The down side for her was the heavy steering and the noise of the single cylinder engine, which almost drowned out the ear-splitting sound of Harrier jets at neighbouring RAF Wittering.

Farm foreman David Cham has used the D-Bat with a trailer for odd runabout jobs, and also towed two chain harrows down our recently made up farm drive to level out ridges of material.

One major job for the machine is to use it to apply slug pellets. We intend to fit a Stocks Fan Jet broadcaster to either the D-Bat or the sister petrol machine the Polaris 500 4 x 4, which we shall trial next month.

General consensus is good but can we justify £5295? Well see.

An ATV, its operator and some sheep in perfect harmony. Rosi Lambkin rounds up the sheep at FWs Easton Lodge farm with the Polaris diesel powered D-Bat.