£ 2,550 up for grabs as part of FW’s annual Farm Inventions Comp

It’s time for another season of The farmers’ weekly Long-standing agricultural invention competition.

With a catalog containing thousands of ingenious ideas, there is nothing better to read about workshop builds that have saved time, hassle, or real money.

And if you’ve designed a machine, gadget, or trinket yourself, now is the time to get involved.

The competition format means that you can still win one of the best cash prizes even if you’ve built something small and relatively simple.

The total prize for this year is £ 2,550, with the results decided by a jury of journalists and farmers.

See also: Read about everything last year’s entries


The entries are divided into three categories: simple, intermediate and complex.

  • Simple Items that took about a day to assemble and are fairly basic in their operation, but still save time or money.
  • Intermediate Nothing more complicated, perhaps with a simple form of hydraulic or electric system.
  • Complex Inventions that took months or years to design and build. They usually involve a motor or a rather complicated combination of electricity and hydraulics.

Who is eligible to participate?

Farmers, entrepreneurs, managers and workers can submit their inventions.

What if I have already submitted my design to other local invention contests?

You are always welcome to enter.

What are the prices ?

The winner of each of the three categories will receive £ 500, runners-up will take home £ 250 and runners-up will receive £ 100.

Will you present the winners?

The nine award-winning inventions will be showcased, along with the best of the others, in Farmers Weekly magazine and online. Most of the machines you see on the stands at shows like Lamma start their life in the farm workshop, so this is a great opportunity to showcase your ideas in the display case.

How can I get in?

Just send in a few details on how the machine works and how you use it. [email protected]

You will also need to attach some good quality photos and a phone number so that we can contact you.

The registration deadline is January 28, 2022.

Who won last year?

Single Category Winner – Alastair and Stephen Maxwell ATV Ramps

Alastair and Stephen Maxwell no longer have to endure the boredom of opening and closing doors when controlling their livestock, thanks to their closed ramp sets.

After playing around with various models, they discovered that the standard ramps weren’t enough to deter particularly adventurous cattle from challenging them – and risking injury in the process.

Ramp above the cattle gate

© Alastair and Stephen Maxwell

Their latest iteration features galvanized corner iron slopes that lead to a pair of stock-proof spring doors.

These are made from recycled Stokbord plastic sheets from Solway Recycling, framed on two sides and held in place by old adjustable tension trampoline springs.

This allows the ATV rider to ride straight on without dismounting.

It now takes about five hours to make a set, they say, and easily justified with a few rounds of stock checks at their farm in Thornhill, Dumfries.

Intermediate Category Winner – Willie Dean’s Xtra Chop

In an effort to achieve shorter, more consistent cut lengths in grass harvested with forage wagons, Willie Dean of Clockeasy Contracting near Elgin developed his front mounted Xtra Chop kit.

The pre-cut system adds 15 more blades, greatly increasing its knife carrying capacity and helping to tie the crop before picking up from the wagon.

In doing so, this virtually eliminates the problem of long-term grass feeding to the wagons, thus avoiding the blades altogether.

The Xtra chop

© Willie Dean

So far he has built two units, both using the burnt out Kuhn press feed set, which he recovers for around £ 1,000 and then extensively renovates.

To this he attaches couplings for a Matbro style cone and a pin tailstock that he wears on the tractor’s front linkage.

This includes hydraulic locking pins so the units can be easily picked up and set down before leaving the field to unload, although it still has to jump out of the cab to face the PTO – a hitch in the system. ‘he is currently working to overcome.

This goes through a gearbox and shaft drive on the side of the machine, and it also has hydraulic couplings that allow it to drop the knife bank for jams or blade changes, and move the pickup reel.

At work, Mr. Dean moves a little slower than when towing a forage trailer alone to minimize the risk of choking the Xtra Cut unit.

Problems are rare in good grass, he says, but lumpy, wet crops increase the likelihood of blockages that can be difficult to spot from the cab.

Although he had occasionally encountered problems feeding the chopped grass into his old Strautmann wagon, he did not report any problems with his latest pair of Krone machines.

The energy needs are relatively low, he says, and the running expenses extend to one set of knives per year.

Winner of the Complex Category – Remote Control Tractor from Tom Beach

Tom Beach’s smart remote-controlled tractor and broccoli harvester trailer were the winner of last year’s complex category.

The 23-year-old agricultural engineering student works part-time on the 100ha family farm in Alcester, Warwickshire, where he specializes in the production of purple sprouted broccoli, typically harvested by individual pickers between September and March .

Tom Beach Remote Control Tractor

© MAG / Edward Mowbray

To improve the efficiency of the system and save a staff member sitting in the tractor all day while crawling across the field, he decided to find a way to control the platform remotely from the pickup station. and drag packing.

His first attempt to make things driverless used a hydrostatically driven New Holland small orchard tractor, but after proving the concept, he set out to convert the farm’s John Deere 6210 with a Powr Quad transmission.

Controlling a fully mechanical gearbox without being in the cab obviously has its challenges, but Mr. Beach opted for an arrangement that allows two electric actuators to move the forward / neutral lever and the powershift lever.

This means that once a master switch in the cab is engaged, starting and stopping the tractor, speed (a very quiet walking pace) and direction can all be managed by the operator standing in the cab. order picking trailer behind.

The trailer element includes a large canopy with a 6m stainless steel conveyor protruding from one side.

In addition to protecting the pickers from the elements, it allows them to walk behind while cutting and placing the produce on the conveyor. The operator on the trailer then packs the broccoli into crates while controlling the tractor remotely.

Mr Beach used computer-aided design to draw the custom-made 6m cantilever roof, which can bend to less than 3m.

He then manufactured the hinges on a lathe, TIG welded the aluminum structure and procured food grade equipment.

Safety features include the trailer’s braking system, which requires pressure to release the anchors – rather than pressure to apply – meaning they’re always engaged when stationary.

There are also several emergency stop buttons, which instantly shut off the tractor engine and require a manual reset in the cab, as well as an audible alarm before the conveyor starts. This is followed by a 3 second delay before it begins.

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