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In 2004 R C Middleton and Son was offered the customer base of a umbilical slurry pumping business from a close family relation. Although Wayne knew a little of how it worked from helping out with the previous owner from time to time. I myself had no idea how it worked, but after a few phone calls and some thought we decided it could work alongside our existing ground works business.

Our relation, being a dairy farmer himself, kept his own kit to carry out his own work. In the search for second hand equipment we found it was very old and very limited, so Autumn 2004 we purchased a new pump trailer from Tramspread of Suffolk. This carries a John Deere engine, Bauer pump, air compressor, 1200 metre reeler and a new 10 metre slash plate applicator. An ex demonstrator Massey Ferguson 6480 tractor completed the kit.

It soon became clear we had no idea what quality and quantity of slurry we were applying, therefore we purchased a testing kit and flow meter which provided a print out of hectare covered and cubic metres applied. In 2008 we gained the work to apply slurry for a new organic dairy unit for the Norman Partnership at The Leen, Pembridge. Here we pump the slurry a distance of over 3,200 meters, the Norman partnership asked if we would consider purchasing a band applicator i.e. injector, trailing shoe, or dribble bar , we decided to purchase the trailing shoe. This machine puts the slurry on top of ground allowing it to spread to each plant but under the crop reducing contamination and nitrogen losses, we have seen cows come back to freely graze within hours. The next problem was that in certain slurries and grass length we could not see our last pass, so guidance was the talk of our journeys to and from farms and a light bar system was added to the tractor. This worked as long as you stayed in the green and not in the red, this day in day out becomes very tedious for the driver.

In October 2009 after a very productive discussion with David Smith and Robert Pugh of RVW Pugh at Churchstoke an order was placed for a fully auto guide Massey Ferguson 7480 and a Top Con 150 system which gave us field mapping, boundary warning, this informs Wayne when he is at the correct distance from water courses, ditches etc. He then can down load the field maps on to a memory stick for the NVZ records, EA concerns etc, all this and the tractor steers itself. It was a long afternoon in Churchstoke but the right decision was made.

We became the owners of the new tractor in Spring 2010 and were very pleased with the performance. However we were only using a free Satellite the accuracy was fine but was prone to drop out for hours at a time this left a void on the field map so it was useless for recording purposes. We now subscribe to a 24/7 SAT and the system works well. This in turn has helped us to gain the work of local company MS and EM Patrick to apply their recycled waste.

Spring 2011 sees the arrival of a new Auto Guide Massey Ferguson 7480 tractor and new pump trailer from Tramspread LTD.

This second unit will allow us to offer our usual service to our customers even though our year is now compressed into 9 months due to a 3 month closed period on all NVZ ground.

New for 2011 will be a 24 metre dribble bar, allowing us to apply to cereals using tram lines. Although this machine will work happily on slurry it is anticipated its main use will be working closely with M S and EM Patrick on digestate from AD plants via their road tankers to a sited nurse tank in the field.

We feel that the level of technology we are using i.e.- flow meters and auto guide Topcon 150 system is providing the customer with an accurate application of slurry/digestate thus enabling them to reduce fertiliser costs.