Dust-free dispenser with no speed loss from Cheshire man
By Jeremy Hunt
A SELF-LOADING cubicle bedding dispenser designed by a young Cheshire farmer is claimed to offer a dust-free delivery, but not at the expense of speed.
The AG Dispenser was originally conceived as a college project by 21-year-old Andrew Garnett, who farms with his parents at Clay Bank Farm, Allostock, near Knutsford. The family runs two herds of 120 and 140 cows on separate units two miles apart.
Cubicles used to be bedded almost daily, but the system was switched from use of a small-bale straw chopper to one capable of handling big bales. "This was creating unacceptable amounts of dust and taking far to long," says Mr Garnett. "And with split herds it meant taking two machines to bed the cubicles."
Design discussions originally considered blower or paddle-driven delivery of the bedding, but, with the aim of keeping dust to a minimum, it was decided to opt for a conveyor system.
"To achieve reliable conveyor delivery at speed was the challenge. I doubt if there are any other conveyor systems working at the rate we have reached with the AG Dispenser," he says.
The hydraulically-driven unit, which can be mounted on a tractor or handler, is based on a container measuring 2m x 1.2m which has also been designed to act as a loading bucket to keep material handling to a minimum. An agitator unit in its base pushes material on to a reversible conveyor.
The bucket has a capacity of about 2cu m depending on the material being carried and, according to Mr Garnett, one bucket will carry enough chopped straw to bed about 75 cubicles, depending on the depth of bedding required.
"It is a straightforward system requiring low maintenance," he says. "There is no pto, no chains and no blowers. Bedding 140 cubicles now takes about 10 minutes."
Success with his invention has prompted the manufacture of the spreader on the farm. Mr Garnett says 10 machines have been sold so far, at about £2900 each.
Straw spreading without dust. Andrew Garnett (inset) has designed his machine to use a fast-moving conveyor rather than paddles.