Where you’ve livestock, you’re sure to have deadstock, but what to do with the casualties is now more of a problem than ever, writes Sam Walton. The days when you could bury any carcases in a manure hill – which incidentally was an excellent way of dealing with them, because when it came to spreading time, there was nothing left – are long gone.
Knackermen have provided a good service for many years, and I seem to remember that every now and then when they called there would be a few notes in an envelope for what they had collected on the previous visit. Sadly that no longer applies and today it costs about £40 to collect a sow, and a lot more for larger animals.
Also, with today’s emphasis on biosecurity, many pig producers want to eliminate the chance of the knacker wagon bringing disease onto the farm, even though they tend to be very careful with their disinfectant routine. That’s resulted in the growing popularity of incineration, and there are now various models available that give a clean burn and allow all casualties to be dealt with on-farm.
After visiting the 2012 Pig Fair, one North Yorkshire farmer decided to install an incinerator in an attempt to minimise the risk of bringing disease onto his unit; importantly it also meant they wouldn’t have to have any dead stock lying around until the next knacker visit.
He eventually chose a Newbourne incinerator, a new company with a new product. The firm’s 1.5 cubic metre model has been especially designed to hold a sow, and he liked the solid construction, the insulation capacity, the easily raised lid and the fact that there’s nothing more than a wisp of smoke from the chimney.
The incinerator was installed earlier this year and he is delighted with the unit. The company did everything it said it would, and after two months of using the incinerator, he’s learning his way around the machine and how to get the most out of it.
Not many farms have gone to the extra expense of building a shed in which to keep their incinerator, but that’s the approach taken on this farm.
The farmer feels the incinerator works best at between half and two-thirds full. The main burner can be run at a variety of temperatures, and so far he’s finding 700C to be about right, although by law the after burner has to be run at 850C to minimise emissions.
He also finds it advisable to leave the ash in the bottom for one or two burns before clearing it out, as this seems to help the burn and keeps any skin contact away from the incinerator bottom and sides.
He puts the cost of a nine to 10-hour burn at about £10-15 less than the collection of a sow, plus he gets the extra peace of mind by being able to dispose of fallen stock on the unit.
All Newbourne incinerators comply with Government and EU rulings and are capable of burning up to 50kg/hour. This makes them low-capacity units so, in most cases, planning permission is not required.
The incinerators can be supplied to run on a variety of fuels including red diesel or gas, and come complete with a touch-screen control panel for ease of use. They also incorporate a data-logging feature for temperature recording to Defra standards.
For more information call 01789 766649; or visit: www.newbourneincinerators.com