2014 - Volume #38, Issue #5, Page #16[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
Timed Latch Opens Gates Automatically
“It’s great for changing paddocks when intensive grazing dairy, sheep or beef,” says Mike Fries, MSF Farm, LLC. He is the U.S. distributor for the Batt-Latch system. “It has been used in New Zealand for years, but has really taken off here recently with sales mostly by word of mouth.”
The built-in keypad and screen make setting a release time easy. The timer can be set up to 4 times in a day for multiple paddock moves. The integrated solar panel and battery maintain constant power, day or night.
Fries has first-hand experience with the Batt-Latch, having used it in his own grazing operation. He recommends positioning the gate and release in the middle of a paddock fence. While it takes a little more time setting up the fence, it means less crowding when it opens than with gates located in corners.
“When the spring gate is released, livestock move through in a funnel shape and spread out,” says Fries. “With a corner-mounted gate, some animals come through and move up the wire, while others stay on the previous side.”
Fries says it takes young animals about 3 days before they are listening for the click of the release. He says most customers end up buying multiple units.
“If you only change pastures once or twice a day, one unit will do,” he says. “It’s very flexible and can easily be moved to a new location. If you use high intensity, short period grazing, a pair of releases works best.”
The Batt-Latch also can be used for other purposes, such as timed release of flood irrigation water, release of farm dogs from kennels, and release of chickens from coops during the day or closure of coops at night. It can also trigger water pumps or other electronic or mechanical switches. Fries’ customers have reported some novel uses of their systems beyond simple controlled grazing.
“One customer in Texas uses it to catch wild hogs,” he says. “A lady in Alabama has a diabetic horse. She uses it to release her horse into the pasture at 3 a.m. when plant sugars are at their lowest point. Another customer feeds her horses separately, using the release to turn them into a common pen later.”
The Batt-Latch has a built-in solar panel and energy storage. It’s priced at $395 for the spring gate style. A $95 adapter lets you use it for pipe gates as well.
“We’ll soon be coming out with a cell phone-ready remote,” says Fries. “It has been proven in New Zealand, but requires a U.S. compatible chip.”
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, MSF Farm, LLC, Pasture Fence Management, 22538 Hwy. Y, Linneus, Mo. 64653 (ph 660 895-5258; www.msffarm.com); in Canada contact Neil Dennis, Box 8, Wawota, Sask., Canada S0G 5A0 (ph 306 739-2896; email@example.com).
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