Farm Ireland

Sunday 19 November 2017

In brief: Direct meat sales idea is runner-up

with their idea of selling pork and dairy products direct to the customer, pig and dairy farmers Michael and Elaine Rogers were runners-up in the Clare Farm Ideas competition.

The Whitegate, Co Clare, couple run a 250-sow unit and Michael fattens all his own pigs amounting to 4,500 pigs a year. Like many farmers he has been continuously irritated by the price differential between what he was getting for his product and the supermarket price. The amount of imported produce on the shelves was also a source of annoyance.

Having first approached a local abattoir to kill a pig for his own use, Michael was so impressed with the taste difference he believed he could really add to his income by selling his pork and bacon direct. Up to now he has just sold a small number of pigs but he is hopeful of eventually selling all his pigmeat direct to the consumer. At present, a full pig costs €325-375, depending on its size, weight and customer preferences.

Mower concept cuts it with best

THOMAS Bonfield, from Coolmuinga, Cooraclare, Co Clare, also secured a runner- up position for his invention of a mower for trimming undergrowth under wire fencing.

The suckler farmer has always shown creative flair, developing his ideas in his farm workshop. He learned his skills from his father, who was also behind various practical farm inventions.

Thomas has developed a superb working prototype of a machine that will trim fast and efficiently under fence wire. The current way of doing this -- if it gets done at all -- is time consuming, awkward and usually involves reversing in with a topper or using a hedge trimmer.

He is currently in the patenting process and intends to have his 'Slide Side Mower' manufactured and sold under licence.

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Irish Independent