14 June 2002


Have you a tip to share with our readers who could save both time and money? farmers weeklys Machinery desk is offering £50 for each idea we publish.

This weeks Tip of the Week comes from Arthur Tomkinson who farms near Loughborough in Leics.

Fed up with struggling to castrate and ear-tag calves out in the field single handed, he says the task can be made easier by using a tractor mounted mobile pen which can be lowered over the animal.

Mr Tomkinson claims the procedure is feasible because new-born calves are usually more docile in the first few days of life and are unlikely to run off as the tractor approaches.

The pen comprises four gates measuring 2.70m (9ft) long by 1.20m (4ft) wide which can be bought or fabricated and then welded together, he says.

The gates, he points out, need to be stronger than sheep hurdles to withstand any damage from the calfs worrying mother.

Quick-hitch brackets are bolted to the pen to enable it to be quickly attached to a loader and lowered over the calf in the field.

"Once the pen is lowered over the calf, the stockman can carry-out the castration and ear-tagging without the need for extra help," he claims. "The pen also protects the stockman from interference from the calfs mother – and possible injury."

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

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