‘Low-impact’ feeding buggy lightens load for pig farmers
- Credit: Archant
A collaboration between two innovative Suffolk companies is set to help outdoor pig producers who have been struggling with one of the wettest winters on record.
Framlingham fabrication company John Harvey Engineering and Stradbroke-based pig production company Rattlerow Farms have come up with a new lightweight feeding buggy for pig farms designed to work in all kinds of weather conditions.
The self-propelled, low ground pressure (LGP) feed distribution vehicle is aimed at keeping pigs fed and people moving in some the most challenging conditions.
MORE - 'Fabulous' £75m mega factory at Eye - set to process 1m chickens a week - is up and runningThe low impact design is aimed at reducing the risk of excessive ground damage when the land is soft, waterlogged and muddy.
Adrian Lawson, joint managing director at Rattlerow Farms, said: "The high rainfall we've experienced in recent months has made conditions extremely difficult on our outdoor units.
"Even the best sites, on free-draining land, are saturated and it's been tough trying to maintain ground conditions and prevent excessive rutting and surface run off when feeding pigs and moving equipment."
You may also want to watch:
He came up with the idea for the low-impact vehicle idea and enlisted John Harvey Engineering to help develop it.
Rattlerow has been using its adapted AgriBuggy on outdoor units in Suffolk since November 2019.
- 1 'He nearly ruined my club' - Bent on former Ipswich boss Lambert
- 2 A12 re-opens after man seriously hurt in two-car crash
- 3 Suffolk school goes viral after teachers post TikTok dance
- 4 Community in shock after stabbing on Suffolk estate
- 5 Man in 40s dies following A12 crash
- 6 Town's former Director of Football reunited with McCarthy at Cardiff
- 7 Hawkins leaves Town after just one season as striker makes League Two move
- 8 Young footballer locked up for 12 years after 'vicious' machete attack
- 9 Former Town star's son scores to help Hartlepool secure dramatic return to EFL
- 10 Village in uproar as primary school attempts to change historic logo
With a gross weight of just 7.5 tonnes, the low ground pressure (LGP) vehicle is 50% lighter than the typical tractor and trailed feeder combinations used on many outdoor pig units.
The LGP field feeder is built on the body of a Kellands/McConnel AgriBuggy - which usually accommodates a self-propelled crop sprayer - and comprises a hopper and feed delivery system manufactured from mild steel, making it lightweight, but strong enough to withstand the rigours of daily use on a pig unit.
The feeder has substantial load capacity, but can negotiate difficult terrain with limited impact because its overall laden weight is spread across a large surface area. Flotation tyres help to limit compaction and rutting, making it easier to move around even when the ground is water-logged and muddy.
"This LGP machine treads lightly on the land compared with other farm machinery, and it's proving to be practical, economical and a very reliable workhorse in the particularly challenging conditions we've had this winter. The stockmen using it say it's saving them a lot of time and reducing the impact that everyday tasks are having on the land," said Adrian. Fergus Harvey-Kelly, feeding technology and equipment manager at John Harvey Engineering, believes there's significant potential for low ground pressure equipment on outdoor pig units. He's currently exploring how low impact technologies used on arable farms might be adapted to suit pig sites.
"Finding LGP vehicles that are suitable for field feeders isn't easy," he said. "We wanted a machine that was robust and offered a similar power ratio to a tractor and we considered alpine transporters, dumper trucks and other self-propelled sprayers, before Martin Sergent, Rattlerow's arable manager suggested the AgriBuggy."