Right tool for the right job
Wednesday, 23 July 2008
Having the right tools for the job can make all the difference. But if you’re new to the rural lifestyle - it could be confusing. We’ve found a list of some basics to get you started. FENCING:
• Hammer with claw head: like a spouse, it’s best to have a nice well balanced one.
• Fencing pliers: What you can’t do with these is not worth talking about. They knock in staples and then pull them out. Cut and tie wire! I’ve even seen them used as bottle openers.
• Spade: The best type for fencing is the trenching spade. It has a narrow blade so can fit down a post hole. Get a good and heavy one.
• Posthole borer: Type depends on your soil, but since you can hire these or better still get a contractor to do the job, it’s probably better to that rather than invest in a whole range
• Spinning jenny: This is a gadget that holds wire and unwinds it as you pull. You can buy quite fancy ones from your farm supplies store or you can make one.
• Rammer: The secret of a good solid fence, the best will be the heaviest with the smallest ramming head. The handle should be solid steel, then it can double as a crowbar.
• Saw: A small chainsaw is best. It is easy to carry around and can be used to either clear scrub out of the way or cut the tops off posts and shape stays. DON’T FORGET: CHAINSAWS ARE UNFORGIVING - SAFETY IS DEFINITELY THE NAME OF THE GAME WHEN USING THEM
• Wire tensioner: This is a kind of lever which has pieces that slot onto the sides of a wire tightener that stays permanently in the fence once the wire is tightened on it.
• Chisel: Between 38 and 5Omm wide. They’re always handy to have around.
For most animal health application, you will need to be able to use or have adequate animal handling facilities with a narrow race to hold animals still, if not a head bale for complete immobility for the trickier jobs. Other items you are likely to use are - check with your stock agent and/or vet if you aren’t sure what to get or how to use it:
• Drenching gun: You will need one that will hold a minimum of 100mls for cattle. There are some nice, easy to clean guns on the market and handy for everything from worming drenches to administering mineral supplements.
• Ear taggers: You will need to ear tag animals from now on with the TB identification tags. For pedigree stock, you will also need breed identification tags.
• Elastrator: This is used for applying elastic bands for castrating lambs, calves and kids and docking lambs. It is a simple hand held device that holds open a special elastic band during application.
• Feet trimmers: If you have sheep or goats you will have to trim excess hoof regularly. Talk to a breeder about the ones they have found the best to use
You are going to need some way of getting hay to your animals - especially in winter:
• Flat bed trailer: Only a small one is usually required on a lifestyle block, towed behind a vehicle
• Carry-all tray: This is a hydraulically lifted carrier for a tractor.
Even on small blocks it can be necessary to harrow and / or top paddocks to keep them in good condition free of dung piles and rank grass. You will also need to be able to deal to weeds during spring and summer
• Harrows: These are used to spread manure over a paddock to return it to grazing condition evenly. Basically a linked, uneven metal device pulled behind a vehicle. You should be able to get a good set second hand.
• Topper: If the grazing regime you have leaves you with rank, untidy paddocks at some times of the year, then cutting the longer grass will improve the paddock markedly. If the size of your block makes it uneconomical, bring in a contractor
• Sprayers and de-weeders: Weeds will need spot or area spraying. If the area is not too large, a backpack sprayer will do the job. If you have a slightly larger block or are really keen you could buy a small boom sprayer for the back of 4 wheel farm bikes There will also be contractors available locally. For individual weeds such as Ragwort, a “wand” filled with herbicide is a cheap piece of equipment.
Have you got a piece of equipment that does a great job and makes your life much easier? Why not drop a line to firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know about it.