Sheepvention Farm Ideas & Technology

Sheepvention 2010 farm inventions

Auger Eye is a safety winner
Griffith NSW retired farmer Greg McCarten says he has been relegated to carting grain on the family farm now run by his son. This means he is constantly filling silos and needed to climb ladders to check fill level. “I am too old to climb silo ladders so I developed an electronic device to avoid it,” he said. His Auger Eye won the major Novartis Animal Health Award for best innovation at 2010 Sheepvention and $4000 prize money. McCarten worked with Leon Boneham to develop a laser sensor on the auger end delivering grain into the bin. When the grain reaches to within a predetermined distance from the top the laser triggers a warning siren to start. The operator sets the distance depending on time needed to stop the grain entering the auger and for emptying the auger. The sensor is supplied fixed to a down-tube which fits on the auger end. It connects to a 12 volt control panel which in turn runs to the tractor or truck. McCarten is confident Auger Eye will prevent many accidents associated with climbing silos as well as the inconvenience of spilt grain and blocked augers. Retail price is $665. Contact: Greg McCarten 0427 640 460.
Crutcher for big sheep
Port Lincoln SA White Suffolk breeder Bronte Gregurke was finding his big sheep were too hard to hold and handle in conventional sheep handlers. So he set out to build a raised handler suitable to hold such animals for crutching standing up and for other operations. His Teakle Hill Crutcher has been exceptionally well designed to hold an animal without squeezing which in turn he claims reduces stress on them. Gregurke has incorporated a range of features to enable the crutcher to be used on all sized sheep. It can be adjusted for sheep length, sheep width and has drop down side gates for head access. Provision has been made for weigh bars to fit into the crutcher floor. He says his unit takes the stress out of handling sheep for routine operations. Retail price of the unit, which is easily disassembled for moving is $9735. Contact: Bronte Gregurke 0428 837 574.


Stay for clay soils
Peter Barrett, Bright Victoria, the manufacturer of the Stay Block for securing strainers has developed a new block for clay soils. Barrett says the Stay Block doesn’t work well in clay soils because the strainer can be pulled forward loosening the post. The Stay Anchor is secured in place with four steel stakes. Each galvanised 5mm thick anchor costs $32. Contact: Peter Barrett 03 5755 1334.
Wind protector for lambs
Murray Wythe and son Scott, Broadwater Victoria, say any farmer can make this wind protector for lambs. They just welded some lugs onto one gate and brackets onto two others so that three 3.4 m gates can be hung together and fold to what every direction is required. Contact: Murray Wythe 03 5576 4272.
Light weight auto drafter
Gallagher has won the Australian Farm Journal Sheep and Wool Innovation Award at 2010 Sheepvention with its revolutionary Sheep Auto Drafter. Made of tough but lightweight composite material the Sheep Auto Drafter has been built for professional sheep businesses processing significant number of animals and making decisions about weight or other information such as bloodline, treatments etc. Gallagher’s Jeff Chadwick says this is the first composite material sheep weighing and drafting system on the market and it has been extensively tested for robustness. The air powered Drafter has a five year structural warranty. Other features of the drafter which impressed judges were its precise entry and exit split-door operation which prevented two animals entering the unit at once and allowed a continuous flow of animals over the scale and through the three way drafting mechanism; and it extremely quiet operation which aids animal throughput. Both side panels of the Drafter have built in antenna for reading RFID devices and are adjustable to suit animal size. The reader controller simply plugs into the top of the unit, it can be run on automatic or remotely by the operator. Extra drafter units can be added to give up to nine ways drafting. The Sheep Auto Drafter retails for $14,468 (not including scale indictor). Contact: Jeff Chadwick 0425 718 479,
Wind-up electric fence
For livestock owners who need to quickly construct an extra holding yard, the Retract-A-Fence designed by Adelaide Hills farmer Garry Flebig. It came about Flebig said when he needed extra holding pens off his yards and to prevent stock entering a hayshed. The device comprises four 50 m long electric lines and corner struts/spacers attached to quick wind mechanism. Flebig says all components are Australian made and he is sell the units on-line. Retail price is $396. Contact: Garry Flebig 0412 417 848,
Magnetic centre punch
Retired farmer Greg McCarten, Griffith NSW, wanted an accurate method of finding the hole centre when drilling steel plate. He developed a cone shaped magnetic centre punch which ensures an accurate hole centre every time. He makes the larger 28 mm punch for $50 and the smaller one, 14 mm, for $35. Contact Greg McCarten 0427 640 460
Lighter battery
David Short inventor of the major award winning entry at 2009 Sheepvention has sourced a lighter weight and longer life battery for his Handypiece electric shearing hand piece. The new battery weighs 800 gram compared with the existing 2.4 kg battery and has more useable life per charge. Short says battery technology is constantly improving and he will offer the new battery as an upgrade to the existing Handypiece rather than replacing the old battery. This way unit price is maintained. The new light weight battery costs $160 including a charger. Contact: David Short
Steel pipe hinges
Farmers using steel posts for gate hinges will find cam-lock hinges developed by Peter Barrett a useful alternative to welding. The cams are adjustable so if the post moves the hinges can be repositioned. The lower hinge extends 15mm further than the top hinge. A hinge set sells for $40. Contact: Peter Barrett 03 5755 1334
Steel posts for quick fencing
The Olsson family, Goulburn NSW have established its own business to manufacture and market a revolutionary steel post. It has its own slots and keepers so fence wires are not threaded and tie wire is not needed. It means a dramatic reduction in time spent fencing especially when ringlock and barb wires are used. Stafford Olsson manages the Australia distribution of the Clipex steel posts while his father and brother have moved to China to run the manufacturing side of the business. By manufacturing the posts themselves and marketing them direct to farmers Olsson-Ag has kept their price to other steel posts sold through traditional retail outlets. The company manufactures a ranges of post configurations to suit fencing types such as barb and ringlock. It also has a range of clip on electric wire insulators and offsets. Stafford says another advantage of Clipex posts is that they make restraining wire much simpler. Contact: Stafford Olsson 0409 254 739.
Tow bar fire wood cutting bench
Jim Anderson, Derrinallum Victoria, wanted a safe but portable method for hold small diameter logs when cutting them for fire wood. His solution is a ‘bench’ which fits into a standard vehicle tow bar socket. Key design to holding the log firmly are the open and closed Vs which jam the wood in place. Anderson says his current design is for small diameter logs up to 6 cm. The bench swivels on the tow fitting. Contact Jim Anderson 03 5597 6711
Truck ladder
Broadwater Victoria farmer Murray Wythe has a knee problem which makes it difficult for him to climb onto the back of a truck. His solution is a fold-up safety ladder which attaches to the truck trays tie struts. The attachments are adjustable to suit different tray heights. Wythe says the unit could be made in aluminium to make it lighter and fold-down handles to make storage simpler. Contact: Murray Wythe 03 5576 4272.
The Sheepvention field day’s success stems from the efforts of dozen volunteers, here inventions competition stewards Geoff and Jill McErvale discuss inventions with New Zealand competitor David Short and judges Brett McCallum and Phil Gordon.

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