Calving assist headgate and lime spreader among Agventions finalists

A calving-assist headgate and lime spreader are among the finalists for the third annual Herdwatch Agventions competition, in association with the Tullamore Show.

The competition is back this year having been put on hold for the last two years due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The competition was set up with a view to connecting and rewarding farmers who have created innovative solutions to problems on their farm.

Fabien Peyaud from Herdwatch commented: “The entries to this year’s Agventions competition exceeded our expectations, with over 20 brilliant inventions and modifications to farm equipment, both big and small.

“The judges’ panel had a very tough time deciding the shortlist and we really look forward to announcing the winner at the Tullamore Show on August 14.”

The best Agvention will get a €300 cash prize and will be entered in the National Inventions Competition which has a prize fund of €3,900 with prizes for the runners up as well.

Actions finalists

Headgate Calving Assist – Francis and John Barron

“We have had a conventional calving gate on our suckler farm for some time and identified some improvements that would make assisted calving safer for both the farmer and the unborn calf by creating a new enlarged space next to the wall.

“When a cow goes down facing the wall, there is limited room behind the cow to operate a calving jack safely. Our solution was to space the headgate 0.5m from the hinge point.

“This allows the animal to be positioned out of the wall, increasing the farmer’s safe work space at the back of the cow and increased leverage is also achieved.

“A swinging gate was fitted to the inner side of the headgate to guide the cow into position, before being fixed in place. These changes greatly improve the ability to deliver a calf safely.”

Lime spreader – Patrick Coleman

“We have used a Vink lime spreader mounted on a wheelbarrow frame, controlled by bicycle brakes for the last 10 years and needed to find an easier way to fill the spreader.

Finalist actions

“A blue barrel was cut to the right height to take the lime from the hanging bag of lime and a sliding chute was added underneath. We can now spread lime in 120 cubicles in about 5-7 minutes, saving a lot of time.”

Tyreshift – Albert O’Neill

“My Action was first made in 2021; I’ve dubbed it the TYRESHIFT. It is used to help place tires on the silo pit and it has greatly reduced the labor required. A hydraulically-powered chain with specially made teeth grips up to 70 sidewall tires.

Finalist actions

“It fits onto standard pallet dough and another feature is a tray for transporting a plastic cover up the pit which is held securely with a rope and catch.

“Covering the pit is now done in half the time and I have started to sell a few to other farmers as well with very positive feedback.”

The Crush Mate – Seamus Dunne

“Crush Mate is an animal-handling device, designed as an accessory for animal crushes, chutes or races, to immobilize smaller animals.

“When fixed on the inside of the unit, it is used to narrow the crush size and restrict the movement of the animal. It can fit to size with its adjustable linkages.

“Freeze branding, castrating and many more works can now be done more efficiently for the animal and user. It is also very beneficial in the training of heifers in robotic milking systems.”

Post driver front loader linkage – Brendan O’Connell

“A bracket to fit a post driver to a front loader. It’s a much safer way of driving posts.

“The person driving the loader is facing the man on the ground at all times. Makes it easier to communicate.”

All of the Agventions will be available to view at the Tullamore Show, Co. Offaly on August 14 (transport permitting).

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