The Kane family grow just over 900ac of combinable crops and grass near Seaforde in Co Down. This year’s enterprise mix comprises winter barley, winter wheat, winter oilseed rape, food grade oats and spring barley. Also included is a smaller acreage of grass ley, which is used to produce silage and hay.
“The winter barley harvest is now complete,” Richard Kane confirmed.
“We grew 250ac of six-row varieties, including Volume. Yields are down a bit on last year. I put this down to the very dry spell that we had in June. But the performance of the crops was still more than acceptable.
He added: “The policy on the farm is to dry and store all the grain we produce. This allows us to service feed compounders the year round.
“Thankfully, we have seen a rise in cereal prices in line with the recent devaluation of Sterling against the Euro.
Strong prices for straw represent another bonus. This contrasts completely with the situation a couple of years ago when demand for straw was very weak and prices were on the floor.
Richard’s business model brings with it a requirement for high quality storage facilities.
He said: “Back in 2009, we built a specifically designed store with a capacity to hold 4,500 tonne of grain. But we also needed a system that was sufficiently flexible to allow us to segregate the different cereals grown on the farm.
“At the time we looked at a number of options, including grain bins and bespoke silos. However, we quickly recognised that the most efficient way of meeting our needs was to put the dried cereals onto a concrete floor and then use the bunker walls, manufactured by Moore Concrete, to provide the segregation we required.
“We now have 50 of the precast wall units in the store. Each is free standing but sufficiently heavy to maintain grains in place, even when loaded from the one side only.
“Total storage flexibility is achieved courtesy of each unit being easily moved from one location to another within the store using a forklift, thanks to the built in fork recesses.”
Moore Concrete’s Jeff Haslett was a recent visitor to the Kane Farm. He confirmed the growing demand for the bunker wall system within the arable sector.
“Cereal growers recognise the total flexibility which the system offers, when it comes to storing grain,” he said.
“Each unit is 3m (10’) high and weighs 2.7 tonne, although we manufacture walls up to 4.3m (14’).
“The unique curved shape of the base was designed to allow the free flow of material to the floor.
“There is a 100mm (4’) straight portion at the bottom edge, where the wall meets the floor, to aid the removal of material from the bay.”
Jeff added: “Walls up to 3m in height do not need bolted down when retaining material such as grain, solid fuels, recycling materials, wood chip, potatoes etc.”
For further information, telephone Moore Concrete on (028) 2565 2566 Ext 1 or view the website at www.moore-concrete.com.