The name Gravelhill is associated with the highest standards of Holstein breeding in Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK.
The 160-strong pedigree herd is owned and managed by David Wilson and his son Jonathan on their Ballyclare farm.
Recent months have seen the pair complete the building of a new general purpose shed on the farm. Part of the rationale behind its development was its capacity to allow for the storage of home-grown wheat, which they will be feeding to the cows as part of their winter TMR.
“Committing to grow the wheat gives us more control of the rations we offer the cows,” Jonathan explained.
“In addition to the storage of the grain, we also needed additional storage space for the straw that would also be available to us.”
The new shed is 120 feet long and 60 feet wide. When it came to storing the wheat and other straights used on the farm, David and Jonathan realised that they would need to put a flexible management system in place.
They found the answer to this challenge in the form of portable bunker walls, manufactured by Ballymena-based Moore Concrete.
David takes up the story. He said: “The bunker walls provide us with total flexibility. They can be easily put in place and then relocated when the shed is required for other purposes.
“We harvested the wheat in early August and were making use of the new storage system within hours of the bunker walls being delivered to the farm.
“A big attraction of the units is the lip shape to their base, which allows easy access to the stored grain using a front-end loader.”
Moore Concrete’s Curtis Murray was a recent visitor to Gravelhill Holsteins.
He said: “Flexible Storage systems, whether it be for compound feeds, blends, grains and fertilisers are in growing demand on farms across Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK.
“The principle is a simple one: why use valuable space that can only be used for one storage option, the year round, when it can be put to a number of uses as the seasons change?”
Curtis added: “On livestock farms, the storage of any feed must be in line with best practice in terms of food safety and quality assurance. Under the Feed Hygiene Regulations, a high level of consumer protection with regard to food and feed safety must be ensured.
“The need to effectively separate different crop and feed inputs is also essential. One of the most efficient ways to meet all these needs, is to put the commodities utilised on a concrete floor and then use the bunker walls, manufactured by Moore Concrete, to provide the segregation required.
Moore Concrete is confirming a growing demand for these precast units.
According to Curtis, they represent the totally flexible storage option.
He continued: “Units range from 1.5m to 4.3m metres in height and weigh between 1.2 ton up to 3.7 ton.
“The unique curved shape of the base has been developed to allow the free flow of material to the floor. There is a 100mm straight portion at the bottom edge to aid the removal of material from the bay.”
Curtis added: “Walls up to three metres in height do not need bolted down when retaining material such as grain, solid fuels, recycling materials, wood chip, potatoes etc.
“Another feature of the bunker wall is the narrow base, thus minimising its footprint.”
For further information, telephone Moore Concrete on (028) 2565 2566 or visit the website www.moore-concrete.com