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Lamb saver Kybibolite SA farmer Huck Shepherd breeds sheep and each lambing season is confronted with the issue of orphaned lambs. His solution is the Shepherd Lamb Saver, a ingeniously designed fold up mesh pen which won the major prize in the inventions competition at Sheepvention as well as the Australian Farm Journal award for best sheep and wool invention. With the ewe caught, the pen is put around her and the lamb(s) and the two are left for 12 to 24 hours to bond. The pen weighs just 17 kg and has two pegs for securing it to the ground. The pegs also work as clips to keep the folded sides together. Panels are joined together by springs to make folding and unfolding easy, but flexible. Light weight sheet metal is welded on two sides to give wind protection to the lamb. Price is $90. Contact: Huck Shepherd 0427 642 034.
Simple solution for olive picker Farming contractor Evan Versman has found a simple solution to a problem with multi-million dollar olive harvesters. He say the fingers that rotate and remove the olives often fall out costing money to replace and reducing harvesting efficiency. Versman worked out that a small metal block placed between fingers clamped onto the vertical rotating shaft stops the fingers from working loose
Long standing farm inventor Barry Bennett Barooga Victoria, has made modifications to his Aqua Softner pump outlet erosion eliminator. Extra vertical bars to diffuse and split the jet of water takes the energy out of it ensuring little or no soil erosion occurs. Bennett has also expanded the range of models with the largest unit designed to handle discharges of 30 ML/day. Bennett manufactures the Aqua Softner himself and their prices range from $250 – $350 each. Contact Barry Bennett 03 5873 4267
Stubble mulcher Hamilton Victoria biological crop farmers James and Michael Nagorcka want to see crop organic matter incorporated back into the soil rather than left standing to oxidize most of its value into the air. Famous for the Waltanna tractors, the Nagorckas’ have applied their engineering knowledge into building a windrowed or header trail stubble mulcher. Michael says in the western district most cereals are harvested with relatively small header not fitted with straw spreaders, they leave a trail behind the spreader. The Waltanna Stubble E-Razor is a pto driven chopper with a drapper front that picks up a 1.7m swath of stubble and distributes it evenly to the desired width. They say one of the advantages with this unit is that the chopping can be undertaken in post-harvest weather conditions favourable for even distribution. For the Nagorckas’ who use standard combines to sow crops this unit allows all the previous years stubble and even windrowed green manure crops to be quickly incorporated and digested before by the following autumn. It is anticipated the $35,000 machine will be of interest to syndicates of farmers or contractors. Contact: Michael Nagorcka, 0427598 698.
Solar lawn sprinkler Nigel Paulet, Drumborg Victoria wanted simpler system for watering the house lawns. He put together a range of items on hand to make a solar power garden irrigator. Components include a electric fence solar panel, and a car windscreen wiper motor. The unit can pull 20 m of one inch hose. Contact: Nigel Paulet 03 5527 9237.
Mat has multiple uses A recycled plastic mat that was developed in South Africa mostly for commercial vehicle and soil stabilization uses will soon be manufactured in Australia. Tom O’Dowd, No Fuss Solutions Mulgrave Victoria, says the mat is likely to have a wide range of uses around high use areas on farms. The mat comes of 0.5m squares which clip together. When soil conditions are optimum it is placed on the surface then rolled into the soil. On farms a tractor could be used as the roller. If the right types of grass are present, within a couple of years most of the mat will be covered but the area will be trafficable. Commercial use for the mat has been for truck and car parking areas and in channels to prevent water erosion. On farms it could be used to prevent bogging in gate ways, entrance to sheds and yards, around water troughs and truck and tractor turning areas. Being UV stablised the plastic has a long life-span ( seven years so far in South Africa). Price is anticipated in the $40 – 45 per square m. Contact: Tom O’Dowd 03 9540 3499, www.nofussolutions.com.au
Safe, accurate seed dressing Successful farm safety inventor Greg McCarten Griffith NSW has put his mind to another farm issue and come up with a handy solution. Mixing rhizobia inoculant or seed dressing pesticides has safety as well as accuracy issues. Its costly to make up a mix only to find it was not all needed or that its been applied to heavily and some of the seed misses out. The solution McCarten has developed is the Protector Seed inoculant mixer and dispenser. The unit features a flow rate meter and camlock fitted hose to fix to the grain auger. Once the farmer has calibrated the auger delivery rate he or she can then set the flow rate on the machine to deliver the recommended inoculant or seed dressing per tonne of seed as it is delivered into the seeder bin. Being a sealed system, there is no opportunity for the mix to come into contact with the operator. The petrol motor powered unit is priced at $1100. Contact: Greg McCarten 0427 640 460
Solar water supply Farm water supply expert Brenton Diener, Truro SA says Hardi boom spray pumps are ideal for using is solar water pumping when coupled to a DC electric motor. Diener make a range of water supply systems based on the Hardi pump because he says if they ever run dry for whatever reason, they will not be damaged. The might suck mud into the valves but these are easily cleaned. The DC motor is important as it is not affected by variable power flowing from the solar panels or wind turbine. The largest solar system he has made will deliver to a 250 m head. Systems range from 80w panel and single diaphragm pump delivering up to 5000 litres per day, to five 160w panels and triple diaphragm pump delivering up to 40,000 litres per day. Prices range from $5000 to $16,000. Contact: Brenton Diener 0438 640 362.
Spreading expensive seed Pasture seed retailers may not like this Evan Versman idea but he claims it has potential to reduce costs. He has converted a silage chopper into a seed disperser. Versman says tall growing perennials like tall fescue are sown in strips across the paddock, in the first year they are allowed to set seed. He then harvests the strips with the chopper which has the discharge chute redesigned to spread the chopped material including seed into the adjacent rows.
Gutter cleaner removes syringes One of Barry Bennett’s make-it-yourself inventions has acquired a new lease of life in unusual situations. Cleaners in his local town were concerned about needle sticks from syringes thrown onto roofs of public buildings in the town. Even wearing gloves will not necessarily preventing injury. Bennett had previously designed a gutter cleaner and he set his mind to this problem and came up with a new design that safely removes debris including needles from tight gutters. To complete the safety package he designed a holder for a bucket which attaches to the gutter. The cleaning tools sells for $20 and the holder $25. A third tool for clean elbows in downpipes in also available. Contact Barry Bennett 03 5873 4267.
Staple driver Driving fence staples can be a hit and miss affair and there’s always the possibility of one flying into the fencers face. Stan Bridgman solution was to design a staple holder that fits any air gun. With this unit the fencer drives the staples into the post in a precision way to the depth needed. The device holds five different size stable. It is mainly designed for fastning to softwood post but if the right air gun is used it can also fit them into hardwood. The Willstan Post Pecka sells for $35. Contact: Stan Bridgman 0413 407 445
Draw bar pin downsize David Botterill, Digby Victoria, was having trouble with narrow pins which suited some implements but were sloppy in the wide drawbar socket on his tractor. Sloppy pins can work their way out of draw bar. To solve this he had the Davrill Conversion Pin engineered to take the slack out of the connection. He estimates the pin could sell for around $200. Contact: David Botterill 0409 826 239.
Gas de-tailer cleaner Barry Bennett Barooga Victoria says he has worked through the modifications suggested at Sheepvention 2010 with his new gas de-tailer cleaner. With this unit he says the handle of detailer doesn’t heat up nor does the wire brush cleaners held in the brackets next door. He says trials with the unit show that the surrounding box which prevents the gas blowing out in the wind, does not heat up and other equipment needed for lamb marking can sit in the tray on top. Bennett manufactures the unit and it sells for $100. Contact Barry Bennett 03 5873 4267.
Gate top hinge adjustment It’s one of those ideas which should have been invented years ago but no one thought of it. Casterton Victoria farmer and fencing contractor Neil Widdicombe constantly had problems trying to level gates particular on hill sides and situation where it is difficult to put a post in perpendicular. His solution is a multiple adjusting top hinge. The fully threaded hinge can be adjusted sideways as well so irrespective of the post angle the gate can be hung square. Widdicombe has only made the hinges for himself and is waiting to gauge interest in them before setting a price, but he envisages two models for heavy and light duty gates. Contact: Neil Widdicombe 03 5581 1488.
Mouse catcher Here’s an idea to catch mice anyone can try. Barry Bennett has put two pieces of loose poly pipe over wire at the end of stick. There some food held in a circle at the tip of the wire. Mice climb the stick and when on the loose poly loose their grip and fall into the water.