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TIPOF

26 April 2002

TIPOF

THEWEEK

Tip of the week

This weeks Tip of the Week comes from Simon Mills, based in Dorchester. Fed up with holding a roll of barbed wire at arms length on a pole while he unrolled it, he set about converting an old milk churn carrier to take the strain.

Mr Mills bolted two lengths of steel to the outside of the trolley – each had been drilled to create a 19mm hole through which a length of M16 threaded bar is placed to support the barbed wire roll. To keep the wire roll central, spacers are placed at each end.

Once on board, the end of the wire is secured and then it is just a matter of pushing the trolley along. FARMERS WEEKLY is offering £50 for each idea we publish.

Send your Tip of the Week to: Machinery editor, FARMERS WEEKLY, Quadrant House, Sutton SM2 5AS.

Sponsored by Kverneland

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TIPOF

19 April 2002

TIPOF

THEWEEK

This weeks Tip of the Week has been supplied by Eric Bosley who farms near Chipping Norton, Oxon.

Mr Bosley says that, during harvest, he uses a Downs rubber belt elevator to convey grain from the trailer to his store. He also points out that reversing a trailer so it stops at exactly the right spot so the discharge chute is over the rubber belt is not easy.

His solution is to fix a cord to the loading end of the elevator and extend it vertically for about 8m and secure it by passing it over a beam and hanging a weight on it to keep it tight – but moveable.

With the trailer partially raised Mr Bosley lines up the centre of the trailer with the cord stopping when the cord makes contact with the trailer body.

"It works every time," says Mr Bosley. "And it speeds the whole tipping operation up at a time of year when every minute counts."

Have you a tip to share with our readers which could save both time and money. It could be a simple device which you have used for years, or one of those instant brainwave solutions to a problem that has been niggling away.

farmers weeklys machinery desk is offering £50 for each idea we publish.

Send a brief description of your Tip of the Week to: Machinery Editor, farmers weekly, The Quadrant, Quadrant House, Sutton, Surrey, SM2 5AS.

Sponsored by Kverneland

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TIPOF

5 April 2002

TIPOF

THEWEEK

Indoor troughs used by cows being fed silage soon become tainted with bits of silage residue, noticed Usk-based dairy farmer David Morgan.

"They invariably go to the trough for a drink with their noses covered with small pieces of fodder," he explains. "This washes off and, in only a matter of days the troughs water takes on a stained look which cannot be too good for the cows; digestion systems."

Realising that up-ending a trough to clean it out was impractical Mr Morgan built a trough which was mounted on two pivot points – one at each end. All that is required to empty the trough is to release a catch and allow it to pivot downwards.

An extra length of flexible hose feed pipe allows the trough to pivot freely.

"It only takes a minute," says Mr Morgan. "And we can always ensure our cows are drinking clean, uncontaminated water."

Have you a tip to share with our readers which could save both time and money. It could be a simple device which you have used for years, or one of those instant brainwave solutions to a problem that has been niggling away.

In any event, farmers weeklys machinery desk is offering £50 for each idea we publish.

Send a brief description of your Tip of the Week to:

Machinery Tips, The Machinery Editor, farmers weekly, Quadrant House, Sutton, Surrey, SM2 5AS

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TIPOF

7 December 2001

TIPOF

THEWEEK

Keeping thawed semen at the correct temperature is crucial for maximising sperm motility and one producer achieves this with a block of polystyrene.

Using sexed semen requires more emphasis on keeping thawed semen warm until used, says Northern Ireland producer Allan Hoy. But most inseminations are carried out in December or January, when temperatures are at their lowest, he says.

To solve this problem, he made an insulation jacket by taking a 18cm (7in) block of polystyrene and using a round file to make a hole large enough for one AI straw to be easily inserted. Straws are 13cm (5in) long, therefore, the jacket insulates its full length.

A plastic sheath, normally used for embryo transfer, is used to keep straws clean when in the insulation jacket. The sheath is a long, narrow disposable plastic bag that covers the whole straw, explains Mr Hoy.

The AI gun is also pre-warmed to minimise semen cooling by placing it in water at 37C. Again, the gun is placed in a plastic sheath before pre-warming to keep it clean and dry as water kills sperm, he adds.

Have you a tip that could save time or money to share with fellow dairy, sheep, beef or pig producers? If so, write a brief description and send it to Livestock Tips at farmers weekly, Quadrant House, Sutton, Surrey SM2 5AS, and you could receive £50 if it is printed in this column.

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TIPOF

30 November 2001

TIPOF

THEWEEK

Is your electric fence wire always in a tangled mess and difficult to move? Try a retractable wire constructed from a household washing line.

A cheap retractable electric fence with automatic recoil can be easily constructed, says Nigel Allen, herd manager at Kingston Maurward College, Dorset. All you need is a retractable clothes washing line, costing about £9, and some wire.

Simply remove the clothes line and replace it with electric fence wire. They are made from plastic, so are therefore already insulated. Up to 15m (49ft) of wire can be attached and it can be locked at any line length, says Mr Allen.

At our college, these retractable wires are used to keep cows off their beds after millking. They are also useful for marshalling cows around buildings because they can be quickly recoiled for tractors to gain access.

The only maintenance they require is to replace the electric wire when it begins to fray. Some of these retractable units are still being used twice daily at the college after being in place for eight years, says Mr Allen.

Have you a tip that could save time or money to share with fellow dairy, sheep, beef or pig producers? If so, write a brief description and send it to Livestock Tips at farmers weekly, Quadrant House, Sutton, Surrey SM2 5AS, and you could receive £50 if it is printed in this column.

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TIPOF

23 November 2001

TIPOF

THEWEEK

Fed up of controlling flies and other pests in the bulk milk tank room?Try blocking out all natural light to keep flies away.

Plunging the room into darkness by blacking out windows and skylights deters flies, says producer John Downing. This approach was used when the bulk milk tank room and parlour were recently refurbished at his Wintersell Farm, which is located on the Kent-Surrey border near Edenbridge.

"Since cutting out all natural light, there has been no problem with flies or other pests, helping to maintain the strict hygiene requirements set by our milk buyer." Two twin-tube fluorescent units provide lighting, he adds.

An additional benefit is the room remains cooler during summer, as it prevents the sun from heating up the air inside like in a greenhouse.

The bulk tank room also has a removable galvanised metal panel in one wall to allow easy removal of the bulk tank. Bulk milk tanks sometimes need to be repaired or upgraded and this panel eliminates the unnecessary cost of removing and rebuilding a wall, explains Mr Downing.

Have you a tip that could save time or money to share with fellow dairy, sheep, beef or pig producers? If so, write a brief description and send it to Livestock Tips at farmers weekly, Quadrant House, Sutton, Surrey, SM2 5AS, and you could receive £50, if it is printed in this column.

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TIPOF

19 October 2001

TIPOF

THEWEEK

Using energy-saving light bulbs instead of standard bulbs can reduce energy consumption by 80%, while giving the same light output.

Northern Ireland producer Johnston Weir uses energy-saving fluorescent bulbs in his layer houses, which contain more than 10,000 hens. "Each bulb only uses seven watts of electricity/ hour and lasts about two to three years."

For the same light output, fluorescent bulbs only use a fifth of the energy consumed by a standard light bulb, adds the Farm Energy Centre, Stoneleigh. Energy monitoring has shown the cost of using standard bulbs is more than the cost of fan ventilation in pig units.

But the centre advises considering bulb replacement costs and the time taken to change them before considering changing to fluorescent lights.

Compact fluorescent bulbs, which can fit into existing light fittings, are ideal for piggery and poultry housing, but they cannot be dimmed. Instead, fluorescent tubes can be dimmed with the correct fittings installed. Also, remember fluorescent bulbs and tubes can have problems starting in low temperatures, warns the centre.

Have you a tip that could save time or money to share with fellow dairy, sheep, beef or pig producers?

If so, write a brief description and send it to Livestock Tips at farmers weekly, Quadrant House, Sutton, Surrey, SM2 5AS, and you could receive £50, if it is printed in this column.

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TIPOF

21 September 2001

TIPOF

THEWEEK

A cheap and reliable drafting system to select cows for AI, foot trimming and vet treatment is an essential time saving parlour feature, particularly when it can be operated by a single milker.

Drafting systems can be based on ropes, pulleys and levers, says Pembroke-based producer Anthony Bushell. "They are simple, reliable and easy to operate from the pit and will typically cost between £30 and £100, considerably less than some automatic systems available." One rope-based system was included in Mr Bushells new 20 x 40 swing-over parlour.

"The parlour was designed to be operated by a single milker, including the separation of animals."

A drafting system operated from the pit prevents disruptions to cow flow when separating cows into a holding area. Otherwise, you have to get out of the pit, stop the cows, separate and then close the gate, he adds.

Without the system, milking times are longer, costs are higher and cows endure more stress. Mr Bushells drafting system also reduces milker stress as the milker doesnt have to break routine and leave the pit to separate cows.

Have you a tip that could save time or money to share with fellow dairy, sheep, beef or pig producers?

If so, write a brief description and send it to Livestock Tips at farmers weekly, Quadrant House, Sutton, Surrey, SM2 5AS, and you could receive £50, if it is printed in this column between now and December.

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