FW Inventions Competition 2023: Wacky and wonderful workshop creations - Farmers Weekly

2023-03-23 17:50:52 By : Mr. Zhixiang Yin

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We’ve picked out some more entries from this year’s Farm Inventions Competition, from a rudimentary trailed sprayer to simple trailers, scrapers and hedgetrimmers.

See also: How to get a patent for your farm invention

When Isle of Bute farmer Duncan Martin sold his Mercedes-Benz MB-trac, he was left with the accompanying mid-mount Berthoud sprayer, but nothing to fit it to.

So he roped in local farm contractor and engineer Iain Reid, who converted it to a trailed machine in just a couple of days.

The chassis came from an old Star tanker, to which he fitted a pair of the MB-trac’s flotation wheels and welded a series of short RSJs to form a base.

On top went the complete Berthoud sprayer, including the 2,000-litre tank and 24m boom. The original pump was positioned at the front of the chassis so that it can be driven by the tractor’s pto.

The sprayer has since passed its NSTS test and now runs on a John Deere 6150R. Thanks to the chunky tyres, it apparently doesn’t leave a mark in the field.

Keen to improve the comfort of his 2002 New Holland TM165, Northern-Irish dairy farmer Albert O’Neill swapped the sprung cab suspension for a home-made air setup.

After a bit of hunting around, he found some airbags from a DAF lorry that were just the right size for the job.

He then machined some brackets on the lathe so that they would neatly bolt to the original spring mounting points.

The tractor came with air brakes, so he was able to tap a feed into the existing air tank.

Pressure is controlled by a simple two-way air switch in the cab, and there is a gauge to help him find the best setting.

When looking for a way to attach a jib to a 14t JCB digger, Somerset farmer and contract operator Rob Brice came up with the idea of fitting it with a Q-Fit hitch from a Loadall telehander.

The jib was required for scraping the crust off above-ground slurry stores and clearing out lagoons, but such a long attachment wouldn’t work with the geometry of the original quick-hitch.

To get around the problem, he sourced a used headstock and some brackets from a local JCB dealer and married the two together.

It did the trick, and the jib has proved invaluable for the slurry job.

However, there have been several surprise side benefits to the project, as the digger can now be used with any Q-Fit telehandler attachment, allowing it to be put to good use on jobs such as loading bales and mucking out.

The fact that the jib will fit on any of the farm’s loaders also means it has come in handy for lifting jobs where extra reach has been required.

With perimeter hedges starting to invade his permanent pasture and shorting out the electric fence, Tom Catchpole, from Topcroft, south Norfolk, came up with a means of quickly taming them.

There wasn’t enough space to get a normal flail hedgecutter on the job, so he dug out a belt-driven Claas side knife that had been loitering in the back of the workshop for several decades.

The belt pulley was discarded, with power instead coming from an old Sands sprayer pump motor via a simple sleeve and shear-bolt coupling. He then fabricated brackets to fit it to the digger and borrowed some pipework from a bucket brush to plumb in the hydraulics.

Looking for a speedier way of mixing concrete without having to upgrade to an expensive pan machine, Ceredigion farmer Arwel Davies decided to build a loader-mounted mixer filling device.

His neat shovelling tube can be speared into a ballast pile, where it will pick up just enough for a full load (about 38 shovels full) in his Teagle tractor-mounted mixer.

The angled end makes it easier to dig into the stone pile and doubles up as a chute for dribble-free tipping into the drum.

Mr Davies made the device out of a length of pipe welded to a frame that fits onto his skid-steer loader.

To make sure his trailed implements always have a stand with them, Arwel Davies came up with a holder that puts an end to them having to be carried on the tractor cab floor.

He made it out of a section of angle iron with a piece of 25mm box section on top that’s large enough for the stand’s pin to slide through.

Rather than cart the trailer to a welder, he built the brackets so that they can be bolted on.

Keen to find a use for offcuts of blue plastic water pipe, Arwel Davies fashioned a nifty tool for turning them into hydraulic pipe protectors.

This consists of a length of metal tube – large enough for the 25mm water pipe to sit in – with an angled cut in the side.

This allows a craft knife blade to be poked through so, when the pipe is turned, it is cut into a neat spiral.

To make sure the knife is held securely in place, Mr Davies, welded a tab on the side of the tube that it can be taped to.

After watching his dairy-farming nephew clean slatted floors with a hand-held yard scraper, Northern Irish inventor Cyril Patterson built a tool that would speed up the job.

The first attempt involved fitting a large scraper blade to a vibrating rake he made a few years ago, but after this proved too difficult to move by hand, he realised it needed some form of propulsion.

His late father’s 12V electric wheelchair was raided for parts, with the wheels and motor mounted behind the scraper and the speed controller and battery attached to the handlebar.

Mr Patterson says the device has significantly sped up the scraping process without having to get a tractor involved.

In need of a compact method of adding Home ‘n’ Dry urea pellets to barley before feeding, John Woodburn rigged up an applicator that sits at the back of his trailer.

As grain is tipped through the tailgate chute into an auger, the applicator pipes the additive into the stream, making sure it is well mixed.

The central part of the setup is an old Gascoigne milking parlour feeder which, when connected to a battery, winds the pellets into a tube that runs down to the auger.

Application rate can be adjusted using a simple slider mechanism.

Above the feeder he fashioned a hopper from offcuts of plywood and rigged up a simple timber frame to hold it in place.

A redundant boat trailer has been put to good use by Richard Legassick of Tavistock, Devon, whose alterations mean it can now be used to transport sheep hurdles.

To do so, he used spare scaffold pipe to form a frame above the galvanised chassis.

It took a couple of afternoons to assemble, he says, and the only expense was the trailer chassis – a snip at £80.

A gadget cobbled together from farm scrap means Yorkshire arable farmer Andrew Watson no longer needs to awkwardly, and dangerously, move row crops wheels balanced on a pallet.

The device is made from two Ford 6600 stabiliser chains and some steel from an old electric pole.

In practice, he drops it through the centre of the wheels until the cranked steel slots are set safely in position.

\With a length of angle iron positioned across the pallet tines, the wheels can then be lifted and moved.

Once done, a tactically positioned piece of string allows the operator to free the cranked steel and remove it from the wheels.

Clambering unceremoniously over wire fences and up hedges is a thing of the past for Roger Mason, who built a handy platform that attaches to the quick hitch of his Hitachi digger.

When hedgelaying on Exmoor, he can now simply shimmy a couple of rungs up the fold-down ladder at the back and onto the railed deck.

It has a rack for chainsaws, tie-down cord and billhooks, and the front bumper bar can be used for pushing and positioning steepers.

A serious car accident left Brian Urwin, from Haltwhistle, Northumberland, with a weak right arm, which posed a challenge when it came to operating his rear-mounted Foster yard scraper.

Yanking the rope to switch between pushing and pulling modes was a particular challenge, so he fitted a cheap hydraulic ram from Poland to do the job for him.

The tines from an old hay rake have been transformed into a sawhorse by Eilir Rowlands from Bala, Gwynedd.

A 20in chainsaw bar is required to carve through a brimmed basket, but a 14in bar should be adequate when it’s half-full. 

He says he left plenty of space under the basket to make sure there was no risk of the saw and metalwork clashing.

Senior citizens struggling to drag their wheelie bin full of garden waste to the lorry pick-up point might like the look of the Bin Ezee device developed by Chas Hughes.

The extra wheel clamps to a standard, council-issue 240-litre bin without any modifications, taking the weight while it is trundled down the drive ready for emptying.

It takes a matter of seconds to fit, can be pulled along most surfaces and can handle up to 180kg. However, it must be removed before the bin lorry arrives, he warns, otherwise it won’t get emptied.

Having found the standard basket-type guards on his grain conveyor outlets prone to choking when dealing with hard-to-thresh winter barley, Mike McDowall of Gifford, Haddington, designed his own self-cleaning version.

The guard is bolted in place of the original basket on the bottom casing of the conveyor and comprises a frame carrying 100mm-long steel sheets set at 24mm spacing.

Though there’s no contact between the conveyor and guards, the constant movement of material quickly shifts any straw that might otherwise start to clog.

Mr McDowall, and fabricator Willie Clark, report that it has kept the 60t/hour conveyor running freely for the past four harvests.

To maintain tension on his ageing Rappa electric fence reels, Joe Pickford of Ardley, Oxfordshire, sliced up standard 25mm water pipe to form simple plastic washers – stopping the wire going slack and sheep from escaping.

An electrically powered Plug&Cool fan mounted on a slotted plastic base allows Pembrokeshire farmer Meredith George to dry or cool small batches of grain or other material held in the crate below.

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