Farm Inventions Competition extended until 7 February

We’ve decided to extend the Farm Inventions Competition deadline by a week, which means you have until 7 February 2020 to get your entries in.

To inspire you, we have dived into the history books to dig out some of the best builds from past years.

Jonathan Caygill’s sheep feed trailer – 2014

North Yorkshire farmer Jonathan Caygill built a multi-use trailer to feed and carry sheep. It has a 275kg hopper at the front and can be released by pulling a rope attached to a sprung lever.

When the hopper is empty, the lid can be dropped to hold 12 lambs, with six ewes stored in the rear.

Jonathan Caygill’s sheep feed trailer

David Sunnucks’ plastic compactor – 2017

Essex farmer David Sunnucks built a telehandler-mounted plastic compactor to reduce the amount of waste his 525ha arable farm was producing. Powered by the third hydraulic service, a large ram compresses the material below it.

See also: 2017 Farm Inventions Competition intermediate category

He can now pack more than 100 1t urea bags and numerous chemical cans into a bale and a year’s worth of plastic can be taken to the recycling centre in one go.

John Stephen’s Cornish loader – 2019

One of the most inventive entries we’ve ever had was this loader, based on a 5t Thwaites dumper, and instead of the usual buck on the front, a David Brown 955 loader has been bolted in its place.

Fitted on the swivel plate means it’s pretty nifty in small spaces and is used daily for feeding, as well as on the silage clamp in the summer on John Stephen’s Cornish farm.

John Stephen’s Cornish loader

Peter Williams’ big bale stacker trailer – 2011

Peter Williams spent 18 months designing and making this bale trailer, which can carry 14 quadrants in one go.

The chassis is a lorry trailer with air brakes and suspension, and he fitted six hydraulic rams to operate the various functions on it.

LED lights and fresh reflectors helped meet safety standards.

Peter Williams' big bale stacker trailer

Mark Taylor’s three-point linkage adaptor – 2014

To help shift implements around without hooking them onto a tractor, dairy farmer Mark Taylor built this useful three-point linkage adapter for his telehandler.

It can lift all the farm’s mounted equipment, and the link arms slide along a steel beam to suit different width linkages.

Mark Taylor’s three-point linkage adaptor

Harry Wiseman’s bale spreader – 2019

Harry Wiseman made this professional-looking bale spreader that is designed to work in the narrow muck passage of a pig shed.

The complex design can spread various-sized bales up to 12m from both sides.

A slow-running rotor draws the bale in and breaks it up, so there is no need for a chopper to reduce the dust.

The parts bill was around £6,000 and took a few weeks to fabricate.

Harry Wiseman’s bale spreader

James O’Kane’s home-built loader – 2007

Mixed farmer James O’Kane took the axles from a burnt-out JCB, and a four-speed powershift transmission along with the refurbished 3,000-hour Perkins engine from the original machine.

Christened the Tele-Trac, it has a fixed rear linkage setup and has a diverter tap to send oil to this, from the 90-litre/min hydraulic pump.

The headstock is from a Matbro and the cab is an eclectic mix of parts from 20 series John Deere’s and old Ford tractors.

James O’Kane’s home-built loader

Paul McLean’s fertiliser spreader trolley – 2017

Paul McLean made a clever trolley to shift his fertiliser spreader around the shed. To save faffing with turnbuckles when he hooked it on, he extended the box section frame of the trolley by 500mm and put decent-sized castors to move it around.

It’s much safer than stacking the spreader on pallets and means it doesn’t have to be hooked onto a tractor to move it.   

Paul McLean’s fertiliser spreader trolley

Cyril Paterson’s one-man fencing system – 2015

Serial inventor Cyril Paterson designed a tool to make installing livestock fences easier.

It mounts on his mini digger and uses handbrake and brake hubs from an old Vauxhall Vectra to tension the wire.

Once the handbrake is applied, he backs up to pull the wire taught. There is also a simple laser-pen aid for levelling posts and system for evenly spacing them.

Cyril Paterson’s one-man fencing system

Jon Clarke’s mobile rollover crush – 2011

Professional foot trimmer Jon Clarke built this mobile rollover crush to replace an old 2003 model.

It’s mounted on an Isuzu cab chassis and runs on four 95ah batteries that power the hydraulic motor and pump.

There’s no front door to the crush, just a yoke, so cattle are happy to enter, with side pivots supporting the animal. Having its own power source means it can be setup virtually anywhere.

Jon Clarke’s mobile rollover crush

Rob Gash’s OSR drill – 2014

Newark farmer Rob Gash spent just £2,000, to make a 3m-wide oilseed rape drill using a combination of new parts and scrap metal.

A TWB packer sits behind some low disturbance subsoiler legs which helps break up the heavy clay soils.

Coulters from an old Horsch Pronto drill are used behind the packer and a liquid fertiliser applicator was also fitted to help the crop get away.

Rob Gash’s osr drill

Max Harker’s hay soaker – 2019

Enlisted by a local equine yard, Max Harker was tasked with building a contraption to make lifting sodden hay nets out of the water less of a manual task.

His design was a frame over a water trough with clips to attach the nets and an old hoist motor to rotate the horizontal pole to lower and raise the nets as required.

Max Harker’s hay soaker

Marty Hay’s one-pass drill – 2017

To reduce passes when drilling, Orkney contractor Marty Hay built this one-pass seed and fert drill to establish barley under sown with grass.

The base was a set of Cross Engineering rolls and a 1,900-litre Nordstine seed hopper, which he converted to sit on the drill’s drawbar, rather than on the tractor’s front linkage.

He reckons it cost around £25,000 to build and is now the main drill used in the business.

Marty Hay’s one-pass drill

The competition has been extended by a week and now closes on 7 February, which means there isn’t much time to be in with a chance of winning some cash. Read the entry details.