Search for a better feeder behind Australian farmer's innovative creation

Search for a better feeder behind Australian farmer's innovative creation

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Advertiser content: A farmer's frustration with existing saliva lick feeders drove him to invent a new feeder that would solve the problems he faced.


This is advertiser content for Universal Feeders.

The innovation of Australian farmers is something of which to be mighty proud. They are often at the cutting edge of improving efficiencies, risk management and equipment enhancement.

At the forefront of this innovative drive are Universal Feeders. Developed by West Australian farmer Bruce Clarke in 2007, his frustration with existing saliva lick feeders - mainly their lack of strength, weight and difficulty to shift - lead to the creation of the Universal Feeder, solving the key problems he was facing. They are problems, no doubt, many farmers can recognise.

Problem: Reducing grain wastage

Solution: Livestock uses saliva to draw the feed out from in between the adjusters which control the depth and width of the grain to suit the consumption needs of the animal. It can feed until the saliva on its tongue dries up. This prevents spillage and gorging, both hugely important during these drought-affected times. During normal seasonal conditions and the farmer has a good understanding of the nutritional requirements of the animal, the lick feeder can be used to enhance the requirements of that particular time.

"Due to high costs of grain, control feeding and regular intake is very important," Bruce Clarke explains.

"The rumen becomes more efficient as it is getting constant feed. The result is the animal requires less food to grow and put on the weight. When trail feeding 2-3 times a week the rumen is getting no supplement, then gets it and then a day or two without. This does not allow the rumen to become as efficient."

Problem: Feeder mobility restraints

Solution:The Universal Feeder has a welded trussed base made out of strong RHS and all bends are flat bent, not rolled. The base is designed for skid towing so it can be moved from paddock to paddock, even with grain inside. This means the feeder can travel with the animals and not be limited to one location and no extra equipment is needed to shift the feeder.

Inbuilt forklift sleeves made out of RHS steel combined with the strong base and feeder allows them to be lifted with grain in them, done carefully.

Problem: Durability of the feeder

Solution: Many feeders rely on sheet metal that just isn't strong enough. The Universal Feeder uses 2mm galvanised sheets where required, plus marine grade stainless steel bolts and nuts in securing the adjusters, plus all sheets are protected by high amounts of zinc, 275gms per square metre, making it tough and long-lasting regardless of its size.

"The increased capacity came as we made the feeder wider," Bruce said. "This made it stronger and better for feeding cattle as they can't damage the feeder shape like other brands."

Feeders have internal RHS support to significantly increase strength against cattle damage and for grain storage and are zinc protected. The base is also hot-dipped galvanised after welding to prevent rusting, making them all-weather friendly.

Problem: Time spent feeding

Solution: As the large feeders can take enough grain to last weeks, less time is spent on refilling the feeder and monitoring the animals. You ration the grain and due to its strength and design it can be filled with high volume flow.

"Depending on the rate of feed required, once full the 4200-litre feeder can last three weeks or more, according to Bruce. "This means rather than trail feeding three times a week, the farmer is only filling the feeder every 3-4 weeks."

The 4200 litre Universal Feeder is the biggest saliva lick feeder on the market.

Problem: Cost efficiency

Solution: The advantages of the Universal Feeder are numerous. The controlled feeding stops gorging, reduces grain waste, is long-lasting and practical. Giving animals access to the grain over a 24-hour period reduces the amount of time spent monitoring feeding and moving feeders, in turn reducing labour costs.

Last year more than 2200 feeders were sold, making Universal Feeders the major supplier of quality long-lasting feeders for livestock producers in Australia. With depots right across the country, the Universal Feeder is solving problems for farmers everywhere.

This is advertiser content for Universal Feeders.