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Beyond the Bale : December 2014
46 ON FARM Anew book has been published by Hamilton Pastoral & Agricultural Society that takes a look at the vast array of inventions in Sheepvention’s ‘farm inventors competition’ since it began in 1979. Compiled by Patrick Francis and Robert Stewart, ‘The Inventors’ is a 108-page publication that includes more than 1200 inventions entered by approximately 650 inventors over the years. There are more than 500 photographs of inventions. As well as being available as a printed book, the publication is also available to view for free online on the Hamilton P & A Society’s website www.hamiltonshowgrounds.com. au. The authors intend to update the e-book after each year’s competition. Compiler Patrick Francis has been involved on the Sheepvention inventions competition judging panel every year since 1991. His co-compiler is Hamilton district farmer Rob Stewart who developed the competition’s concept with some other locals in 1979 and has been involved with the event ever since. “I contend the book contains the best collection of sheep handling equipment, shearing shed equipment and sheep yard ideas available anywhere,” Mr Francis says. “An important feature is that most of the inventions are the ideas of farmers and all tested on their own farms. “This book is a celebration of the incredible ingenuity and skill present amongst farmers and their generosity of spirit to share ideas to enable farm work to be done more simply, safer and more cost effectively. It should be remembered that many of the inventions entered each year are ideas other farmers can take away and make at home. “ Even the inventors of commercial ideas have an ulterior motive for displaying inventions at Sheepvention. They know putting an operating invention in-front of a knowledgeable farming public at this event will give them valuable feedback to improve their inventions. “As a judge, the greatest difficulty I have had over the years is making decisions between the inventive merit of simple on-farm gadgets which have widespread application and possibly can be made by farmers in their own workshops, versus the magnificently designed and built machines which do a great job but will only be used by a relatively small number of farmers.” This diversity is exemplified by the winners of the major award for Best Innovation over the past four years, which are summarised here. SHEEPVENTION INVENTIONS FROM Hamilton P&A Society has published ‘ The Inventors’ – a 108-page publication that includes more than 1200 inventions entered in the Sheepvention ‘farm inventors competition’ since 1979. 2014 WINNER: Compact crane: Rod Davidson, Casterton, Vic 2013 WINNER: Fire fighting pump protector: Rod Sheppard, Marysville, Vic Casterton engineer Rod Davidson has built a hand pumped hydraulic crane into the cab rack on the front of the tray. It’s so well incorporated that at first glance you would not know a crane existed. Rod says he built the crane for his own use as the double cab vehicle has a relatively small tray area and bolting conventional tray cranes takes up room and can sometimes get in the way. Rod has strengthened the corner of the tray under the lifting point. He says the crane mechanism he installed can lift a 200kg weight and can be used to pull out old fence posts or pick up anything, sheep included, with a sling added. More information: Rod Davidson (03) 5582 0272 The 2013 winner was a small invention which has the opportunity to have a big impact when fighting a fire. The inventor Rod Sheppard says that in emergency fire situations such as those he faced as a CFA volunteer at Marysville on Black Saturday 2009, pumps on dams or tanks can stop working (or even fail to start when vitally needed) due to the severe heat vaporizing the fuel, or – after the fire has passed – due to key components melting such as air filters, or simply being destroyed by flames. The pump protector he says will stop this happening. The simple tube which attaches to a fitting on the spare hose outlet on the pump is fitted with a special droplet spray head which spreads a water shield over and around the pump. Following further development since Sheepvention, Rod has now commercialised the product, costing $49.95, under the name Pump DefendaTM. More information: www.pumpdefenda.com.au 0400 540 589 MORE INFORMATION ‘The Inventors’ book is free to read online at www.hamiltonshowgrounds. com.au or order a hard copy for $25 plus $10 postage. Contact the Hamilton P&ASocietyon0355722563or firstname.lastname@example.org The Pump DefendaTM, which can help protect your pump from bushfire damage, is now commercially available. Rod Davidson with his simplified version of hoists that are commonly fitted to the trays of utes.