Machinery exhibitors at the Royal Welsh Show presented plenty of ideas for making life on the farm easier or more productive.
Here is our roundup of the best bits, including a 19-year-old’s bale transporter invention, a clever cattle fly repellent, feeders and a mobile cattle transporter.
Beaty Bale Transporter
Nineteen-year-old Jim Beaty has turned an A-level design and technology project into a commercial product with the launch at the show of the Beaty Bale Transporter.
Designed for use behind a quad, side-by-side utility buggy or any vehicle with a ball hitch, the project was inspired by a need to handle bales when ground conditions were too soft for a tractor at Mr Beaty’s home in Northamptonshire.
A battery powered double-acting hydraulic power pack tilts the bed and will lift up to 1.5t, so removable spikes can easily load a typical round bale or a square bale up 90cm x 120cm before transporting it horizontally.
When not needed for moving bales, it can convert into a handy tipping trailer by adding removable sides and a tailgate.
The first production batch is about to be built, with prices starting at £2,250 from Mr Beaty’s JBBT company.
Farmline Machinery 3in1Feeders
Shropshire-based Farmline Machinery has introduced smaller and larger versions of the range of self-regulating feeders devised by Australian manufacturer Advantage.
The key feature of the 3in1Feeders is the way grains and concentrates are presented in small adjustable cells such that sheep or cattle have to lick them up.
Rob Ball of Farmline explains that loss of saliva interrupts feeding in this way, so that rather than filling up, animals will break off to ruminate or switch to grazing for a while before returning to the feeder after saliva levels have recovered.
This little-and-often feeding regime, he says, results in a more consistently balanced pH in the rumen, which favours the different microbes needed to efficiently digest different types of feed.
Adjustment of the feeding cells enables intake rate to be regulated to achieve cost-efficient weight gain, and the intake restriction also makes it feasible to feed sheep on whole rather than rolled grains, says Mr Ball.
Pallet fork and wheeled versions of the double-sided feeders are available, along with accessories for creep feeding of lambs and calves.
Newcomers to the range, which already included four sizes from 500 to 3800 litres capacity, are a 150-litre version at £335 for small groups of up to 25 sheep or calves, and a 5,600-litre version for 50-60 mature cattle, priced at £2,500.
Bryce Suma TA400
A prototype trailed post driver from Bryce Suma can be operated behind a small, lightweight tractor, in contrast to the bigger power units needed to handle heavy-duty linkage-mounted versions.
The TR400, which incorporates an auto duplex mast as fitted to all Bryce post drivers, has a two-wheel chassis on flotation tyres, with hydraulic stabilising jacks extending from the frame and the bottom of the mast.
Hydraulic mast side-shift and two-way vertical alignment are complemented by a telescopic drawbar providing back-shift, which can be used to precisely position the mast for driving either posts or the integral swing-around rock spike.
There is storage space for a chainsaw, wooden support blocks and tools, and a cradle for transporting posts and rolls of wire.
Prices will be announced if the machine enters production.
No-Fly-Zone head rub
Suckler cows self-anoint themselves with garlic oil or whatever the vet recommends to deters flies, while their calves give the udder a dose of repellent after a good head rub on the No-Fly-Zone’s canvas sheet.
Imported from the US by Edward Penty of American Squeeze Crush Systems, the structure’s central upright tube supports on one side a chain link neck and back scratcher angled to the ground, and on the other a hanging canvas head rub.
The tube is also a reservoir for a liquid fly deterrent, which is pumped to the canvas wick and sheet by the up and down movement of the neck and back scratcher.
“There are no electrics or other power sources involved and the reservoir holds enough for around 50 cows for six months,” Mr Penty explains.
“It’s simple and at an introductory price of £1,500 is a cost-effective way to reduce mastitis infection being spread by flies.”
Bredal belt spreader
A tractor-mounted spreader for lime, chalk, Fibrophos and similar materials is a lower-cost alternative to the trailed spreaders produced by Danish manufacturer Bredal, whose products are distributed in the UK by KRM.
The SG spreader and its electronically controlled SGS counterpart both broadcast from two hydraulically driven spinners fed by a full-width belt in the base of the 500- to 2000-litre hopper.
A calibrated shutter regulates the volume of material and therefore the application rate relative to the tractor’s forward speed.
On the SG version, rate adjustment tweaks are made by hand using a flow valve on the hydraulic belt drive; the SGS has electronic proportional control with variable application rate potential.
KRM envisages that the machine will be used by smaller growers, on hilly ground and for treatments applied to crops such as carrots and other vegetables grown in beds.
The SG-500 – the smallest in the range – is priced from £9,395.
Pearson Texas mobile cattle handling system
The giant Pearson Texas mobile cattle handling system incorporates a forcing pen with a gate and three partially sheeted 3m sections that fold in and out, fan-like, for a quick set-up on site.
Standard UK spec for the US-built outfit includes a squeeze crush with manual head gate and a rolling gate behind, and a no-backing gate at the entrance of the 3.65m long adjustable alley in the middle.
This section has built-in access for veterinary and other work, and can be equipped with an optional weighing floor.
“This is where the animals are still relatively quiet, rather than in the crush where they can tend to get skittish,” suggests Edward Penty of American Squeeze Crush Systems.
A removable wheel kit completes the set-up, which can also be had with hydraulic operation of various functions.
American Squeeze Crush Systems, based in North Yorkshire, prices the manual version at £17,000, with a weighing centre section adding £2,000.
Hisun Vector E1
A comprehensive range of quads and side-by-side utility vehicles heralds the return of former Polaris importer EP Barrus to the all-terrain farm vehicle market.
The Bicester, Oxfordshire-based firm is bringing in China’s Hisun range, which is also available in North America and a number of other markets.
One or two small importers – most recently Farr UK – have had a go before faltering, but Barrus vehicle division sales manager Roger Suckling believes his company has the resources and distribution strength to make a success of the vehicles, which he believes have good enough build and quality for the rigours of farm use.
The Forge and Tactic quads currently run to three models, all road legal and certified to carry a rider and passenger.
They are equipped with an auto transmission and selectable two- and four-wheel drive, with engine sizes of 471cc, 546cc and 735cc priced from £4,299 to £5,799.
The petrol-fuelled Sector UTVs, priced from £6,099, have the same engine sizes, while the Strike 1000 sports model has a 976cc engine.
Hisun’s electric-powered Vector E1 exhibited at the show uses a dry cell battery to power a motor with the equivalent of 25hp output and, like the petrol-driven models, has a three-speed transmission, selectable two- and four-wheel drive, and a manually tipped 226kg-capacity load bed.
The Vector is priced at £7,999 for operators who want a quiet, zero emissions (at source) UTV.
This tidy-looking device is designed to secure a quad bike in less than 10 seconds but make it difficult for anyone intending to steal it to lift it away.
The Quad Vice from Bison Security, Merthyr Tydfil, has eight anchor points for bolting the frame to the floor and two locks on the rear-wheel clamping mechanism.
The clamps are engaged by driving the vehicle on to the frame with the rear wheels sitting on rollers.
A squirt on the throttle rotates a winding mechanism that brings the clamps in hard against the wheels, making it impossible to lift or push the bike away.
Fore and aft adjustment of the front wheel chocks and wheel clamp height adjustment make the device suitable for any size of quad, says Bison.
It retails for £995.
With Manitou’s new MLA-T articulated telescopic handler being quite a bit bigger, more powerful and more sophisticated than its predecessor, the French manufacturer is covering all bases by importing the smaller and simpler T750 handler from its Gehl Compact Equipment operation in the United States.
Powered by a 74hp Deutz 3.6-litre engine in the tail, the newcomer has a reversing fan, two- or three-range hydrostatic drive giving speeds up to 20kph and 30kph, and 40deg chassis articulation for tight turns.
Straight chassis tipping load with a standard bucket is rated at 3.4t with the boom retracted, 1.74t extended; these figures reduce to 2.4t and 1.18t at full chassis articulation.
Lift height can be increased from 3.91m to 5m at the attachment pivot pin by extending the telescopic boom using a roller switch on the multi-function joystick.
Quicke Multibenne XL
Quicke loader manufacturer Alo has moved into the telehandler and wheeled loader attachments market with its XL Original Implements range.
First items off the highly automated production line set up in China for manufacturing all Quicke attachments include the Multibenne XL shovel grab (pictured) for loaders typically up to 4t capacity.
There are four widths from 190cm to 250cm, weighing 615kg to 932kg and having capacities of 1cu m to 1.85cu m.
A 230cm version is priced £3,110 with profile cut grab tines or £3,565 with forged tines; optional side panels for loose materials can be installed along with the bolt-in toeplate.
The HDX telehandler bucket for lighter materials comes in three widths from 213cm to 244cm, heaped capacities from 1.05 to 2.1cu m and features flared-out sides for easier discharge of sticky loads.
A 2cu m version is priced £1,475.
An out-front cab and tricycle layout with rear-wheel steering gives the latest diet mixer feeder from Kverneland an unusual appearance.
But what really sets the Siloking eTruck apart is its battery power pack and electric motor propulsion for the wheels and mixing screw – apart from a couple of small wheeled loaders, this is the first mainstream agricultural machine to go all-electric.
Low running costs, quiet operation and zero emissions at source are the main attractions, says product manager Dan Crowe.
“Service intervals are 1,000 hours apart and when you lift the cover to have a look at the workings, there’s not a lot to see,” he points out.
The powertrain is proven industrial forklift technology and the battery pack is reckoned to have sufficient reserves to make up five 3.5-4.5t batches per charge – so it could be recharged between morning and evening feeds on larger units and overnight on smaller ones.
Cheap-rate or “free” electricity from a farm’s own AD plant or solar panel array would further reduce running costs.
There are 8cu m, 10cu m and 14cu m versions, with the mid-size version priced at about £80,000.