Each new year brings new challenges, new goals and a new outlook for your farm. Depending on your farm’s goals, there are lots of things to consider. What equipment do you need? Do I need to upgrade any of my current equipment? Am I happy with my current source for farming supplies, or could I get a better deal elsewhere?
Regardless of your goals/challenges, there are a number of different farming supplies that will make life on your farm easier and enhance your way of working.
Here are five must-have farming supplies for 2020.
- Specially designed drinking troughs
As you’ll probably know, drinking troughs really don’t have a ‘one size fits all’ approach. This is because they’ll be used for different forms of livestock and each herd’s requirements will be completely different. Depending on your farm’s requirements, you can pick up drinking troughs in different materials, such as steel and plastic. Then you can order them in different sizes depending on your stock’s needs.
As drinking troughs have various different features and selling points, you can do away with standard versions and go into the new year with troughs that perfectly fit the needs of your livestock.
Steel troughs are a great drinking solution for most animals. Opting for steel means that you’re choosing a heavy-duty, long-lasting piece of equipment that will pay for itself over time. Choosing galvanised steel will also mean that your trough won’t rust and you’ll really get your money’s worth.
You’ll normally be able to find galvanised steel drinking troughs in a large number of different sizes to fit different animal’s needs. For example, sheep will require more shallow troughs (around 267mm deep), whereas larger animals may require deeper troughs at around 610mm. A good farm supplier will cater for animals of all shapes and sizes.
And did you know that steel drinking troughs also make ideal planters?
Plastic troughs are perfect if you’re looking for a temporary solution. For example, if you’re temporarily relocating your cattle and need to be able to easily transport their trough.
Surprisingly, plastic water troughs can come with lots of different features. For example, fast-filling troughs and troughs that have single or double capacity. As well as different features, good plastic troughs are normally frost-proof, UV protected and can be used in different climates.
As well as drinking troughs in different materials, you can purchase additional accessories. For example, you can pick up service boxes, ball valve trough kits, concrete trough support and poly ball floats.
- Streamline your sheep farming experience with specialised sheep equipment
There are so many specialised pieces of equipment that will help improve the efficiency of your sheep handling. These include products like handling crates, footbaths, hurdles, sheep races and more. A good farming supplier will be open to working with you and being there for any questions that you have. So when you’re doing your research, don’t be afraid to get in touch with the supplier to see if they can help, and even test their knowledge.
Some key products for sheep handling include:
For fencing/penning sheep (and other livestock), sheep hurdles are must-have pieces of farming equipment. Again, sheep hurdles shouldn’t have a ‘one size fits all’ approach because there are so many options to help streamline your farm management by giving you the ability to create different fencing systems.
For this reason, sheep hurdles come in multiple different variations such as ringed half mesh hurdles, interlocking hurdles and sliding gate hurdles. And these pieces of equipment will normally be made from galvanised steel for the ultimate durability.
There are so many different varieties of sheep feeders that can be chosen specifically for your farm’s requirements. From sheep feed rings which reduce wastage and allow for less feed usage; to lamb creep feeders which are double-sided, perfect for fattening lambs and designed with safety in mind, reducing head entrapment; there are endless options on the market to suit your farm, your livestock and your personal preferences.
Sheep crates and weighers
Make weighing your livestock easier with professional handling crates designed specifically for sheep. The crates/weighers have multi-lock systems in place, which means you get your daily tasks done, accessing various parts of the sheep (such as feet, head and rear end) with ease and less stress for both yourself, your staff and the sheep.
Different crates and weighers are available depending on your needs. For example, there are calf/lamb weigher crates, plus docking/turnover crates.
- Enhance your herd management with cattle equipment
An abundance of cattle equipment exists to help farmers grow and manage their cattle. Such equipment includes unique cattle feeders, cattle handling systems, cattle crushes and other bespoke solutions.
Unique cattle feeders
There are many options to improve your cattle feeding including opting for heavy duty tombstone feeders, beef feeders, badger defense troughs, cattle fence feed gate units and high density feeders. You don’t need to have the same feeder for each field. You can tailor your livestock’s experience to enhance your farm management.
Cattle handling systems
Whether you’re happy with a pre-designed kit for your farm, or whether you have more specific requirements that you need a personalised design for, modular cattle handling systems will help manage and maintain your farm.
The beauty of cattle handling systems is that you can start small, and add to your system over time. So rather than a big initial investment, it’s more manageable in terms of affordability - plus you get to design your own system to suit your farm’s requirements.
Products could include cattle handling kits, cattle hurdles, access gates and yoke gates.
Cattle crushes will help make herd maintenance easier. Cattle crushes are usually made with galvanised steel to ensure they are long-lasting and hard-wearing.
Various cattle crushes are available depending on what you’re looking for. Some examples include squeeze handling trailers which help restrain cattle, foot trimming attachments and super scoops which help restrict side to side movement of the animal’s head.
All cattle crush equipment is designed with the safety of animals at the forefront, helping you execute your daily tasks with ease.
- Improve productivity with different harvest products
Harvesting season seems to come around quicker every year. Making sure you’re prepared for the start of the season means you won’t be rushing around trying to source equipment, and depending on where you source your equipment, may even end up saving yourself money.
For example, shopping around and comparing your regular farming supplier costs may highlight savings you can make. And purchasing your harvest products along with any other farming equipment you may need could help you save on delivery too.
Farming suppliers will usually stock various high quality harvest products such as silage sheets, harvest accessories, stretch wrap, baler twine and net wrap.
- Be more environmentally friendly with Stokbord
Rather than using plyboard to house your livestock, opt for Stokbord. This is a sheeting product made from recycled plastic and is durable, pliable and excellent value for money. It’s also chew-proof and resistant to rot, which makes it perfect for its intended farming use, which can include creating sheep/pig pens, housing poultry, cattle handling races, stable lining and feed trailer floors.
As well as not needing any upkeep, Stokbord is highly sustainable. If your farm’s overall goal and ethos is to become more focused on the environment, Stokbord is a great option to work towards that goal.
Stokbord comes in a variety of sizes and you should be able to speak to your farming supplier to discuss your needs.
Can I change my farm supplier?
Yes you can. Although many of us are creatures of habit.
If you’ve been using your current farming supplier for a while and would like to branch out and try another supplier, it’s important to do your research to make sure you’re confident in your switch.
Things to consider when changing farming supplier
If you’ve been using one supplier for a period of time, it’s probably because you’re happy with their service. However, if you find yourself turning down product opportunities, or paying more than you need to for products that are cheaper elsewhere, it may be time to trial another supplier.
If you decide that time is now, whether to save money, or try new products, there are some things you should think about/find out before doing so.
- What’s their customer service like?
- How much cheaper are their prices?
- How advantageous will new products be to your farm?
- What are the lead times like?
- How much does delivery cost?
- Are there deals on delivery?
- Do they have regular discount offers?
- What’s their reputation like?
- How long have they been in business?
- Do you know anyone else that could recommend them?
Trying a new supplier could be a really positive thing for your farm. You may even end up preferring them; becoming a long-term new customer, saving yourself a lot of money and improving your farm management along the way.