LIVESTOCK farmers on the Orkney and Shetland Islands will be able to access the benefits of the Spread-a-Bale machine following the appointment of J and W Tait as dealers for the islands.

Taits, founded in 1870 and now under the fifth generation of family management, is a 'full service' agricultural merchants, based on the Hatston Industrial Estate, Kirkwall.

Peter Tait said: "The most important factor for our farmers is that it enables them to bed down livestock without having to move the animals out of the pen, which you cannot normally do with the various bale shredders available.

"It also uses a very gentle straw spreading action, which avoids the health and welfare risks of shooting stones and other objects at the livestock. Using whole straw, rather than chopped, greatly reduces dust levels which is better for the stock."

A number of performance enhancing changes have also been made to the latest models. Its spreading rotors now have a re-styled base that protects against long straw wrapping around the rotor and stalling the machine.

An improved hydraulic valve also enables the machine to be used with a wider range of tractors and loaders. This enables it to work at 580 rpm, rather than the 680 rpm of the older models.