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King Size Feeds

Feeding out to stock on large-scale farms has just become easier, thanks to an innovative mid-Canterbury company, which has developed a supersize capacity feed wagon that is more versatile than anything currently available in New Zealand.

Robertson Farm Equipment has been making feed wagons for the past 20 years and as farms have got larger, so has the need for units that can handle a variety of feeds simply and economically.

Donald Robertson, the company's Managing Director, says the move to bigger and bigger has been an incremental but inevitable one, beginning four years ago with an upgrade to its conventional silage feed wagons.

The company received a $47,000 grant from Technology New Zealand's Grants for Private Sector Research and Development scheme (GPSRD), part of the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology for further research into what is now being called the 'ultimate feed wagon - the megacomby'.

Donald Robertson says the machine is the answer to any farmer's prayers.

"The one machine feeds everything, round and square bales as well as silage. It's self loading and has the capability to split loads," he says. "What is means is that feeding out will be quicker and much simpler. We've come up with some innovative electronic controls and a tilting discharge elevator, so farmers can feed over fences or into troughs easily."

Mr Robertson says the unit is suited for dairy farms of 1,000 or more cows, and it is already feeding out to 17,000 head of cattle on an Australian property.

"The research has been a major undertaking for our company, but we're already seeing the results in interest from overseas. Now that we've embarked on R&D, it will be an on-going project for continual improvement," he says.

John Gibson, investment manager for the GPSRD Scheme at the Foundation, says Robertson Farm Equipment's R&D fitted well with the aims of the government business funding scheme.

"We are keen to help companies undertake R&D that will boost their growth. We have funded slightly more projects in the manufacturing and automation sector than any other, and Canterbury accounts for around 8% of the national total of funding through GPSRD."

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