County Antrim firm Brett Martin is experiencing a big increase in demand from the agriculture sector as farmers invest in its specialist new product to help improve conditions for their animals.
The company, which manufacturers polycarbonate roofing for a wide range of commercial uses, has already supplied its new Marlon CST Heatguard material to a range of local farming businesses, including some of the largest dairy farms on the island of Ireland.
Orders are also now coming in from across the UK and from the equestrian sector.
Perhaps better known for providing roofing for sports stadia such as Manchester City’s The Etihad and Manchester United’s Old Trafford, this latest development in the agriculture sector is proving to be highly successful for the company.
Chris Chambers, Technical Sales Manager, Brett Martin, explains: “Animals such as cows and horses fare much better with natural daylight and in a cool environment. Traditionally, farm building design has limited the amount of natural daylight entering through the roof because of issues with excessive heat gain which raises the temperature inside the building.
Lab research undertaken with Dr Tom Chamberlain, a leading UK Vet specializing in heat stress in cattle has shown that dairy sheds roofed in Marlon CST could be significantly cooler that those using traditional materials.”
“Our new material contains special pigments which allow much higher levels of daylight to enter the building whilst blocking the heat build-up. This means that an entire roof can be made from these sheets, providing daylight on a scale that has never been possible before whilst keeping the building and the livestock cool. Users of the new roofs claim to be experiencing improvements in animal health, milk yields and fertility.
“In addition to the benefits in terms of animal welfare, there are also pluses from an environmental and economic perspective. Many equestrian and agricultural buildings rely on artificial lighting, even during daytime. Using rooflights means the need for lights is removed completely during daytime and therefore represents a significant financial saving along with an opportunity to reduce carbon emissions,” he adds.
One of the farms that has invested in the Marlon CST Heatguard product is Bingham’s Dairy Farm in Templepatrick, county Antrim. It milks almost 900 cows and its main shed now has a polycarbonate roof from Brett Martin which the owners say has been a “game-changer” for their business.
George Bingham says that there have been a range of benefits: “Our experience has been exceptional. Since we installed Marlon CST Heatguard, conception rates are better, yields are up, and the cows are lasting longer. It is a gamechanger within livestock building. The cows are just far happier, and their hide is in a great condition, which is a sign of good natural light and ventilation. We also save money because we are using a lot less electricity.”
Employing over 1,000 people in total and with sales of £220million, Brett Martin is one of Europe’s largest plastic sheet producers.