December 22 2014 Latest news:
Friday, July 4, 2014
Third-generation Norfolk cereal grower arable Jim Alston has designed a robust hi-tech electronic gate for livestock farmers.
It has taken him more than three years of field testing before production of the lightweight driver-operated gate started in earnest last month.
By using carbon fibre, it ensures that all surfaces will conduct a mild electrical current to contain even the most curious farm animal in field or yard.
Mr Alston, of Manor Farm, Calthorpe, near Aylsham, has tested it thoroughly even down to -20C. It uses solar panels, with back-up from a small battery, so that it can be placed in remote locations.
“We’ve tested it and even in the darkest winter months, it will operate for two to four weeks,” he added.
“Everything that an animal is likely to lick will give it a bite of a mild shock,” he said.
The gate, which is 4m (13ft) wide, will fit a smaller gap, because the arms can overlap. A 5m version can also be made, to order.
As it weighs just 21kg, it can easily be moved from hill or field to the yard. Mr Alston’s gate said that the flexibility would make it possible to be used either singly or as a double gate and would be ideal for a hill farmer using a quad bike to check sheep or cattle.
Launching at the Royal Norfolk Show, Mr Alston and designer colleague, Oliver Chastney, have already received dozens of inquiries. d funding from the UK’s innovation agency, the Technology Strategy Board. The project also received funding in the first batch of Eastern Agri-tech funds earlier this month.
The gate costs £1,950 but a special launch £150 discount will apply to orders confirmed before early next month.
A Norfolk nursery is to expand into new premises to cope with the growing demand from families in its local area.