War Role for Farm Waste Plastic
Thursday, 21 January 2010 11:03

WASTE plastic collected from farms across the UK will help soldiers to more effectively engage the enemy in 21st century conflicts thanks to an innovative Scottish company.

Training with small arms has always involved soldiers adopting fire positions best suited to the terrain that they occupy. Current operations overseas have Identified the need to fire from and use cover behind the characteristic domed roofs of Middle Eastern structures.

Solway Firing Domes will provide awkward prone firing positions on UK forces training ranges.

This required the addition of realistic range furniture on purpose built training ranges thus giving soldiers experience of live firing from an “awkward” prone position. The Solway Pig Pens seemed to be an ideal starting point for a design based on configuration, durability and little or no `through life` costs.

Trials at the Defence Training Estate, South East, DTE SE, proved the viability of the choice and with some simple modifications this “off the shelf” pig pen has proved to be entirely fit for purpose”.

As Jim Muir of Solway Recycling explained, “MOD procurement officials viewing the company website realised pig arks made from Stokboard, which is produced by recycling farm waste plastic, were potential firing domes! “We tried several designs and made amendments after live firing trials to meet MOD requirements. All very worthwhile as an order has been placed for over a 100 firing domes going to UK training camps used by British forces early in 2010.

Solway Firing Domes will provide awkward prone firing positions on UK forces training ranges.

“Our complete loop recycling of waste plastic collected from farms nationwide means it is turned into Stokboard to make a range of robust products such as pig arks, calf lodges, creep feeders and lambing pens used again by farmers.

Indeed Solway Recycling collects waste plastic from many tenanted farms on Ministry of Defence training areas such as Otterburn and Larkhill.” Solway firing domes are not only rust and maintenance free, but minimise injuries to users and damage to their equipment.

Tipp Vet to Represent Ireland
Monday, 17 August 2009 09:49

Veterinary surgeon Dr Folke Rohrssen forsakes his busy south Tipperary mixed practice for three weeks this August to represent Ireland in the World Pair Driving Championship.

A prestigious bi-annual event held this year in Kecskemet, Hungary where carriage driving draws crowds of 200,000, hardly surprising given the host nation’s Magyar tradition of horsemanship.

“Carriage driving pairs is a truly exciting sport and competing for Ireland a huge honour, thought it is also a major commitment,” explained Folke in perfect English acquired, complete with Tipperary accent, since coming to Ireland in 1987 from Germany.

“We will be away for 22 days starting with a five day drive from Tipperary to a training camp within 20 miles of the competition grounds at Kecskemet. Then follows a week of acclimatisation and training before the competition from 19 to 23 August and that five day drive home.

Interchem Ireland area manager John Maloney, left, presents Tipperary vet Dr Folke Rohrssen with sponsorship, including Duvaxyn West Nile Virus Vaccine from Fort Dodge Animal Health, towards the cost of representing Ireland at the World Pair Driving Championships in Hungary. Pat O’Callaghan, managing director Interchem, noting that Irish horses have no natural immunity to West Nile Virus

“At international level pairs carriage driving is a costly sport, especially as it involves three horses, a pair and a spare! However support is coming in from the Irish Horse Board, practice clients and suppliers such as Interchem and Fort Dodge Animal Health.

“The very welcome package of support from Interchem Ireland Ltd and Fort Dodge Animal Health includes the just launched West Nile Virus vaccine Duvaxyn WNV. In fact ours are the first Irish horses to be vaccination against West Nile Virus before competing on the continent.

“Hungary has reported several cases, some fatal, of West Nile Virus in equines over this past two years. Though the risk of infection with this virus is relatively low, it’s still a threat, particularly as the competition is being held when the mosquito vectors are most active.

“Using Duvaxyn WNV vaccine now gives us time to complete the primary course and develop some degree of protection in our horses. Important as Irish equines have no natural immunity to West Nile Virus.

” Wishing Team Rohrssen all the best in their first world championship InterChem MD Pat O’Callaghan noted that, “Given the presence of West Nile Virus in some former Soviet bloc nations anyone taking horses into Eastern Europe should seek advice from their veterinary surgeon about vaccination with Duvaxyn WNZ, which offers immunological protection to vulnerable equines.

” For Folke carriage driving pairs is very much a sport involving all the family with 14 year old daughter Sophie, for example, enjoying the exciting role of back step groom. Indeed the youngest members of the Rohrssen family, twin boys aged two, are strapped into the rear seat during some training drives!

Though carriage driving had long interested the Stuttgart native it was only six year ago that the chance arose for Folke to try first single and then pairs horse carriage driving.

“Nothing quite matches the excitement of pairs carriage driving, especially with our Gelderlander horses, a Dutch breed used by over half those taking part in this sport. First bred in the Netherlands as stylish carriage horses that could also do some farm work the Gelderlander has a very impressive step, strong bones and great stamina with an ability to keep going even with a few knocks.

“They are very intelligent with a terrific willingness to learn, but like all horses competing at international level they require a major financial commitment. Hence, along with the other two teams from Ireland driven by Barry Capstick and Edwin Bryson we welcome further sponsorship,” emphasized Folke.

To see how you can support your national team in Hungary visit www.carriagedrivingireland.com

Less Gas More Growth
Monday, 17 August 2009 09:44

LESS gas and more growth from high sugar grass swards is putting a Northern Ireland seed merchant at the heart of a drive to increase milk and meat output off grass, yet reduce greenhouse gas emissions from livestock. Samuel McCausland Ltd in Banbridge, founded in 1825 and still a family firm, are now supplying local farmers with Aber High Sugar Grasses through merchants and co-ops.

Bred at Aberystwyth in Wales these can increase milk production from grass by over two litres a day, give a 20% boost to weight gain in beef cattle and offer similar improvements in lamb growth.

Everyone wants quality and quantity in their sward and in their silo, but when   reseeding also plan to meet new gas emissions livestock regulations

Just as important, livestock grazing swards based on Aber High Sugar varieties produce less potentially harmful greenhouse grasses. GAS

Paddy Boyd, a spokesman for Samuel McCausland explained that farmers reseeding now with Aber varieties benefit not only from lower cost production of milk and meat, but are well placed to meet forthcoming EU regulations restricting the amount of greenhouse gas emissions from livestock enterprises.

“Reseeding with the most up to date varieties of grass makes sound economic sense for many years ahead. Remember, the difference in output from a merely average recommended variety and the latest Aber High Sugar Grasses can be the difference between profit and loss.

In addition the increased efficiency means that less Nitrogen is released to the environment. It is also expected, but not yet proved that methane emissions are similarly reduced.


“Looking to the future needs of farmers and demands of government regulators Samuel McCausland Ltd developed close links with grass breeders, links now yielding huge dividends for Northern Ireland farmers. “Grass sown this month will still be used to produce milk and redmeat five, ten or even 15 years from now when greenhouse gas emissions from stock will be heavily regulated.

“Thankfully, through out network of stockists province wide McCausland’s Aber High Sugar Grasses are easily available to everyone reseeding this year. For minimal extra spend an acre on Aber premium mixes farmers enjoy more income off grass and limit harmful gas emissions for years to come,” Paddy Boyd affirmed.

Cow Trak Impresses
Monday, 17 August 2009 09:30

WALKING the dairy herd four times a day between fields and parlour in our increasingly wet and mild climate was made easier by laying Cow Traks at SAC Crichton Farm, Dumfries reports manager Hugh McClymont.

Last autumn Hugh opted to lay cow friendly walkways to the fields using Cow Traks, a soil stabiliser similar to those used for car parking and buggy tracks at golf courses. Manufactured from recycled waste plastic Cow Traks were supplied by Solway Recycling Ltd of Dumfries, who are launching their latest innovation at the 2009 Royal Highland Show.

Less muck, more money for milk producers! Almost instant walkways laid with Cow Trak proved a time and money saver at SAC Crichton Farm, Dumfries, as even in prolonged wet weather animal health and welfare was not compromised taking cows between fields and milking parlour

Speedily and simply laid on top of the ground this plastic grid requires no prior site preparation, is extremely durable with a 20 tonne axle load carrying capacity and can be lifted to reuse.

SAC’s Hugh McClymont found herd health improved thus cutting costs as the incidence of lameness and other problems such as mastitis was reduced when cows no longer walked through badly churned up ground.

These environmentally friendly walkways require little maintenance, have minimal visual impact and reduce both soil erosion and poaching. A major step forward for dairy farmers as they seek to comply with GAEC, the Good Agricultural and Environmental Conditions, required to secure Single Farm Payments.

Not only livestock, but also vehicles move more easily around a farm on Cow Traks without churning up fields, lanes and gateways.

“With herds of up to a 1000 cows walking considerable distances four or six times a day at milking times Cow Traks have a key role to play in improving herd health and reducing costs,” commented Jim Muir of Solway Recycling. Founded 15 years ago the farm based Dumfries firm takes a Complete Circle Approach by collecting agricultural plastic waste using their award winning Solway Bin and Liner System. This plastic is then recycled into a growing range of durable products including calf and sheep pens, lamb creep feeders, Stokboard, Cow Traks and garden furniture.

For further details of Cow Traks contact, Solway Recycling Ltd, tel; 01387 730666, www.solwayrecycling.co.uk or visit Royal Highland Show Stand 277 on Avenue T.

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