Machinery

Farm inventions - have you got a bright idea?

Friday 24 August 2012 08:00
Andrew Metson

If you've been beavering away in the workshop building something that has saved you time, money or hassle, you should enter Farmers Weekly's inventions competition.

It can be a machine that is completely new from top to bottom, or an existing machine that has been adapted to make it more useful.

Maybe you've undertaken a major winter project - a telehandler attachment, rape swather or bale carrier for example.

But it doesn't have to be an all-singing, all-dancing mix of engine, pulleys and sprockets.

It can be something that you've pulled together in an afternoon, say a system for keeping a buck-rake protected for road travel, or a device to keep hydraulic pipes tidy at the back of the tractor.

And there is no one better placed to decide whether a piece of machinery is up to the job than a farmer or contractor.

After all, most of the kit dressed in the livery of mainstream manufacturers at major shows like the Cereals event started life in a farm workshop.

For instance, 2010's inventions competition winner - Cornish farmer David Carbis - displayed the first full-production models of his bag lifter and bale spike at this year's Grassland show.

As ever, there are three categories:

  • Simple machines are those that took less than half a day to put together.
  • Intermediate inventions are ones that are more complicated and took longer to put together. They may have some form of simple hydraulic or electric system.
  • Complex ones would have taken several days (or weeks) to design and make. These often involve an engine and relatively complex set of electrics or hydraulics.

Who is eligible to enter?

Farmers, contractors, farm managers and workers are all welcome.

What do I need to provide?

Just email whatever information, photographs or diagrams you have available. Please send any pictures in as high-res form as possible. We'd also love to see your machine in action. Please upload any video footage to www.youtube.com and send us a link.

How long have I got?

Until 31 August 2012.

What if I've entered my design in other inventions competitions in the past?

Don't worry - that won't exclude you from this competition.

What about patents?

If you think you may want to patent the device, put the words "Patent Application Likely" at the top of the email. If you want to know more, check out the Patent Office's website (www.ipo.gov.uk).

What are the prizes?

The winner of each of the three categories gets £400, while the runners-up each get £100.

Will you feature the winners?

Yes, all six winning inventions will be featured in Farmers Weekly and on FWi. So if you want a potential manufacturer to see what you have on offer, this is a good way of doing it.

It can be useful for other farmers, too, who might have a need for a similar machine but hadn't got their head around a suitable design.

You can check out the winning designs from 2010 at www.fwi.co.uk/machinery/farm-inventions to get an idea of what were after.

How do I enter?

  • Just email us brief details of what the machine is, how it works and how it benefits the farm or contracting business to david.cousins@rbi.co.uk. Or post them to David Cousins, Farmers Weekly, Quadrant House, The Quadrant, Sutton, Surrey SM2 5AS.
  • Please include a couple of reasonably high resolution pictures, a diagram (if it needs one) and your mobile phone number in case we need to get more information.
  • Closing date is 31 August 2012.
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