Farmer Focus: Invested in a vital new bit of kit

So far, so good. We are still getting food in and pigs out with none of us having caught the dreaded Covid-19.

As far as I’m aware, three people I know have caught the disease and thankfully they have made a full recovery. What does seem odd is that all three are married men, but their wives didn’t catch it.

Last week was weaning week and we had our best ever, with 94 sows averaging 14.45 piglets.

See also: African swine fever vaccine saves 100% of pigs in trial

If we could replicate this every week we would be rearing over 35 pigs a sow a year. We are currently just over 34.

We’ve splashed the cash this month and bought a new Kramer four-wheel-steer loader. It was an ex-demonstration machine with 70 hours on the clock.

For the past 20 or more years this has been our main piece of equipment on the farm.

We use it to scrape out sow houses, blow feed into the tents and muck out yards and tents. The key requirement is the machine must not be wider than 1,720mm so it can fit comfortably down our passages.

We’ve had two other Kramers previously that we kept for 14 and nine years, respectively. Both gave faultless service and also had good trade-in value. We chose a telescopic this time so we can stack Heston bales five high, as we could only go four high with the previous machines.

I rarely have contact with farm machinery dealers but what struck me with all three we had quotes from was the huge list prices they have on equipment, and then the huge discounts that are given – it’s not like that in the pig industry.

The only fault I can find with the new Kramer is the reversing beeper is so loud, but at least none of us should get run over.

Thanks to Adam at Ripon Farm Services for supplying our new machine and hopefully for many more years of trouble-free work.

David Owers is a Farmer Focus writer in Lincolnshire. Read his biography.