IMPROVING life on the farm for workers and stock alike was the purpose behind the majority of implements entered in the NAB Agribusiness Award of Excellence at the 2013 Australian National Field Days.
Independent judges Gerald Ingham, Will Lee and Bruce Beasley were accompanied by NAB Regional Agribusiness managers Karl Sinclair and Chris Eyles as they inspected nine entries on Thursday.
Awards were presented to National Stockyard Systems for the Headmaster Head Bail, Red River Rural for the Raised Sheep Drench Race with drop-down panels and Valton Feeding Systems for the Portable Feeder.
The entrants were judged on innovation, safety, quality and workmanship, market suitability and value for money.
Gerald Hicks designed the Headmaster Headbail for National Stockyard Systems.
The device is the product of five years of research and development and 32 years of experience for Mr Hicks.
It is designed to improve animal and worker safety by withstanding the pressure exerted by large bulls and steers on the bail arms without requiring a particularly strong worker to operate it.
“When you look at it and you finally figure it out, you wonder why you didn’t do it a long time ago,” Mr Hicks said.
It’s a learning process as you go along and designs are always improving.
“Farmers are getting older, more women are involved in farming and we needed something which was lighter and easier to operate. This has the leverage and the refinement”.
It was a successful day at the field days for Tamworth-based company Red River Rural, which also picked up the ANFD Award for Best Agricultural Exhibit.
Red River Rural’s Andrew Lynch said the Raised Sheep Drench Race was designed with a base of weather-proof, marine-grade material and adjustable rails so it was comfortable for workers of all heights.
Valton Feeding Systems’ feeder for sheep, calves and cattle is designed to reduce waste by keeping feed dry and is delivered as a flat pack to save on freight costs.
Valton’s Leigh Byron said there had been strong interest in the feeder on the first day of the field days.
NAB Regional Agribusiness manager Karl Sinclair said producers would benefit from the improvements in design that were demonstrated in all the award entries.
“The strong level of competition between manufacturers of livestock handling products means producers are benefiting from better and safer products,” he said.