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Batt-Latch Feedback - Page 4
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    We have good stocks of Batt-Latch timer kits leading up into Fieldays at Mystery Creek, 11-14 June 2014. We will have site M30, which is outside the front entrance to the main pavillion (opposite the old HQ site).

    This year, we have some new products to show off, including a cellular modem add-on for the Batt-Latch. The latest circuit boards are ready to take a modem option, and by mid June the code will be ready to offer the upgrades.

    With the modem installed in a timer, any farm worker with a cellphone and the Batt-Latch unit's number/password will be able to force the timer to release with a simple text, or delay the release time, check on the status, even speed up the release, change the clock or any of the job times. We have heard that sometimes everybody is running late for milking, and having the cows out in the race too early for anyone to handle them, can be a problem. So now you can text the timer to delay the next release by an hour or so. The Batt-Latch will also send you a text back to your mobile(s) confirming what is going on. The modem option will also be very useful for those with a second herd, because the second timer can be released at will, in advance of a backup release time.

    Any Batt-Latch units can be upgraded if necessary, with an electronic controller board trade-in.

    Here is the latest newsletter with more details. We hope to see you there at Fieldays.
    http://www.novel.co.nz/Downloads/Fie...Newsletter.pdf

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    We have seen extremely good sales levels of the Batt-Latch timer since Fieldays, both in NZ and overseas. Our US distributors, Mike and Sharon Fries, Missouri, were in NZ scoping out Fieldays, and having a good look around the Waikato region. It was a pleasure having them here, and they also sell other NZ products to US cattle farmers.

    I need to advise that the cellular modem Batt-Latch option for cellphone control of the timer, is not ready yet. We are testing the latest version of the code and range-testing the internal aerial. We hope to have this important addition to the Batt-Latch function ready within a few months, maybe even before Christmas.

    On a happier note, we are holding good stocks of new timers, as we've removed a few supply issues. We are also repairing and refurbing older timers within a day or two of them arriving at our workshop. Always we get the messages of encouragement and thanks, the timers are saving a lot of hassles on the farm.

    We usually have spare units available to loan out, if your timer being 'down' places undue stress on the farm operation. When farmers ring up and suggest they'll buy a new timer kit so they can get up and running faster, and keep the old one as a spare or additional timer use once it's repaired, we always repair the old unit for free, if it is recoverable. Worth remembering.

    From about a year ago, we are converting the timer outer cases to the newer blue vented type, as we repair them. This allows us to provide a 6 month warranty on the repairs, and you'll have a new-looking timer when it comes back. Again, we don't exceed $150 +GST as a repair cost.

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    Here is an article about Neil Dennis, our distributor in Canada. He runs a large drystock holding called Sunnybrae Farms, and is a consultant too.

    http://holisticmanagement.org/holist...nnybrae-farms/

    Neil uses our timers and some cleverly engineered gate arrangements, to move mobs of cattle frequently between small blocks. This cell grazing technique has been proven to work, in greatly enhancing the stock-carrying ability of his property.

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    The impact of an over-stocking of milk powder and related products in China, with domestic production in many countries increasing quickly over the last few years, has inevitably impacted on the milk payout indications for 2015-2016 from Fonterra recently. I know that many dairy farmers had been expecting this over the last few months, but it's still bad news for anyone in the sector.

    One of the core aims for Novel Ways is to help make farming easier and more profitable, and we have at least one flagship product, the Batt-Latch gate timer, that does this well. While we have not increased the indicated resale price of the Batt-Latch ($395 + GST) for several years (and do not intend to) we'd like to offer some sort of a deal which gets more NZ dairy farmers owning one timer at least. It's not just the labour-saving aspect of it, but the usually heavily reduced herd lameness, which we think will be very important over the next year or two. Herd owners will need to contain all costs, and lameness often costs in the region of $10,000 to $20,000 per year, per average herd. Our timers might save 70% or more, of that cost each year.

    Recently I accepted a kind invitation to attend part of a SMASH conference at Karapiro. We have been proud to donate Batt-Latch timers to each of these conferences for the last few years. Noldy Rust and his team have done great work putting these events together, I can see that. When a spokesperson asked the farmers how many of them used our timers, I think about a third put up their hands. Not enough, I thought, these are small herd farmers who should be making the most of smart gear that has a low capital cost but usually a very high return on investment.

    From now on, we will offer a 24 month warranty on the Batt-Latch timers, we'll be very lenient on any repairs outside warranty, just like before, and we'll offer a trade-in deal of NZ$250 + GST for a new timer swapped for any beaten-up Batt-Latch that isn't worth repairing. Units provided against a trade-in will be new timers with a 24 month warranty, with a strap and manual, but no gate fittings.

    Please note that we don't charge more than $150 + GST for repairs on the timers, no matter what, as long as at least 50% of the timer is recoverable. Generally this means that the circuit board is repairable. If a farmer wants to buy another new timer kit at retail, any repair on one of their old units at the same time, is free. This would apply whether the farmer deals with us directly, or through a rural supply store or agent. Just let them know, so they pass the advice on to us. All the best for the season ahead.

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    Our Batt-Latch timers are still in demand here and overseas, with extra interest in our modem units within NZ. The modem upgrade is $295 + GST for a 2G modem on a Vodafone plan, in addition to the timer cost. All of the latest timers can be upgraded, we can also arrange a PCB swapout for older units. This lets you force a timer to release anytime you want to, using a cellphone text. You can also delay or speed up the next release time, very handy if you're running late for milking! All of the commands and options are shown in the latest Batt-Latch manual.


    For overseas sales, we need to fit a 3G modem, and some of our agents are testing these out at the moment. Sounds good so far.

    As the pressure comes on our farming systems from the dairy payout prices, we find more farmers doing more with less, and we know our timer gear can help a lot with that. Some relatively unused Batt-Latch timers are being dusted off, repaired at our premises for farmers, and are being pressed into use.

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