Cornish Farming Invention is Leading Technology in its Field
Business Link's Marilyn Pryor presenting Oliver Sawle with a plaque acknowledging the completion of the Rural Diversification Capital Grant Initiative
A Cornish farmer is hoping his invention can be further developed to benefit a wider audience. With assistance from Business Link, Oliver Sawle has created the world's only completely automatic in-field haylage manufacturing system.
Equipack Haylage, based at Beacon Cottage Farm in St Agnes was set up in 1999 to make and sell haylage to horse owners but as demand for bales rose, the business became increasingly labour intensive. To bale, wrap and stack 50 bales per hour needed a team of three people and was such hard work that retaining staff was a real problem. Production hit a ceiling and it became obvious that in order for this aspect of the business to grow a more automated production system was necessary.
With help from his father and Camborne based Cornwall Hydraulic Services, Oliver has developed a bale accumulator and handling system which integrates with the Swiss manufactured bale wrapping machine already in use on the farm. This season, the award winning equipment has proved its worth producing almost nine thousand bales on the farm.
Oliver received help through the Rural Diversification Capital Grant Initiative delivered through Business Link. The scheme is a combination of grants and advice to help farms and other rural related businesses successfully diversify their commercial activities in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly Objective One area.
Oliver says, "Without the help from Business Link it would have been too risky to put this idea into practise, they helped me get Objective One grant funding to develop the farm diversification project. My next step is to speak to the Swiss manufacturers TAWI and see if there is a way this design can be taken forwards as a joint venture, as it would be much more cost effective to put this together in one workshop. I realise it's not a product for which there would be a mass appeal, as it's very much a niche market but it would make a huge difference to those businesses working in the same sector."
Marilyn Pryor from Business Link's Rural Diversification Capital Grant Initiative says, "Equipack Haylage is a superb example of how Business Link can successfully help farm businesses diversify. Not only have they created a thriving enterprise to run alongside the farm but they're also developing innovative technology which will bring wider improvements to the whole sector."
Oliver is hoping that the Equipack business will in future become the major grassland enterprise on Beacon Cottage Farm.
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The Objective One Programme for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly has invested in the Rural Diversification Capital Grant Initiative through the European Agriculture Guidance and Guarantee Fund (EAGGF).
The Rural Diversification Capital Grant Initiative helps farms and other rural related businesses to diversify their commercial activities through a combination of grants and advice.
It is one of the support schemes aimed at helping rural and land based businesses across Devon, Cornwall & the Isles of Scilly and administered by the Business Link Agricultural Team. Others include:
• Cornwall Food and Drink Partnership scheme
• Rural Business Support Initiative
• Rural Enterprise Gateway (South West)
• Rural Enterprise Facilitation Scheme
• Rural Directory
Business Link provides a free information and enquiry service via an information gateway on the web www.blinkdandc.com and via the telephone on 0845 600 9966 to all businesses and those considering starting a business. Additionally It provides impartial business advice and support through a network of partner organisations, which it co-ordinates, and a register of independent business practitioners. Business Link for Devon and Cornwall delivers the national Business Link service to the region under contract from the South West RDA.
Business Link has received Objective One investment (European Regional Development Fund and EAGGF) to help companies improve performance and grow.
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