A LOCAL contractor has displayed Fermanagh ingenuity at its finest in an attempt to counteract treacherous field conditions. 

Alan Ferguson, an agricultural contractor from Derrygonnelly, has been busy spreading slurry in his unique slurry rig - an adapted Mitsubishi track dumper with umbilical slurry pipe/spreadplate system. 

It's no secret that rubber tracks cause significantly less field damage than traditional rubber tyres, and this is exactly why Mr. Ferguson opted for this route amid what he described as, "the wettest Spring in memory".

Prolonged rainfall, the odd storm and cold conditions have made getting onto fields nigh-on impossible for traditional tractor and slurry tanker outfits, and the sight of the half-dumper-half spreader on local fields has been quite the talking point amongst the farming community. 

"In one way it's a bit of craic," Mr. Ferguson said. "In another, it was born out of an aspiration not to be financially crippled by the weather!

"Contractors are having a terrible time trying to get work done. At the moment no substantial work,  namely slurry spreading, is being done.

Contactors, against their will, have workmen standing in yards with nothing to do, waiting until the weather improves.  It's a dire situation and everyone is in the same boat."

Mr. Ferguson described local ground conditions as "swimming" and said his track dumper creation will fill a gap "for the time being". 

"It's the worst season I can remember, and older men have compared it to the season of 1986. It was a difficult end to last year and a difficult start to this one.

"Nonetheless, farmers and contractors have to keep at it and live in hope. The track dumper has provided a bit of craic for the farming community and a bit of a talking point, so that's a positive I suppose!"