In­ven­tor fi­nally wins at Henty

Shepparton News - Country News - - MAN’S BEST FRIEND -

It took 46 in­ven­tions but Barry Ben­nett fi­nally struck gold this year by win­ning the Henty Agri-In­no­va­tor Award.

A live­stock pro­ducer from Ba­rooga, Mr Ben­nett has en­tered in­ven­tions ev­ery year at Henty Ma­chin­ery Field Days since 2001, and took out the award last week for one of the sim­plest of his de­signs, the Slip Tie.

The Slip Tie evolved when Mr Ben­nett had prob­lems with a fuel tank mov­ing on the back of his old farm ute and tan­dem trailer.

It stops any move­ment by the spacer strap and se­cures fuel tanks or hay rolls on utes and trail­ers.

Made from 3 mm stain­less steel, the Slip Tie de­sign was en­gi­neered in Shep­par­ton, by JMarr, in time for dis­play at Sheep­ven­tion in Au­gust.

‘‘It got third prize at Sheep­ven­tion and I didn’t ex­pect to win today as the run­ner-up was pre­ci­sion­fin­ished, ready for mar­ket and a lot of thought had gone into it,’’ Mr Ben­nett said.

‘‘It was a pleas­ant shock to win as I thought it was just too sim­ple but we need to get peo­ple in­ter­ested in be­ing farm safe.’’

He also had a sec­ond en­try in the award, the Strap Grip.

Highly com­mended was the non-re­turn ir­ri­ga­tion valve en­tered by Peter Coc­cia­rdi from Narre War­ren.

The non-re­turn valve al­lows ir­ri­ga­tors to re­motely start their pumps and uses a spher­i­cal seal­ing el­e­ment in a tech­nique unique in the world.

Other en­tries in­cluded the poly spin­ner trailer from Luke Howard of Henty, and the ute hay bale lifter from Peter Mills of Days­dale.

The en­tries had to meet the cri­te­ria of hav­ing a prac­ti­cal on-farm ap­pli­ca­tion, be based on an orig­i­nal idea of the en­trant and not be in full-scale pro­duc­tion at the time en­try.

The award was judged by Henty Ma­chin­ery Field Days Co-op­er­a­tive mem­bers Joshua Ma­her, Lance Ham­son and Eron Thomp­son at the field days on Septem­ber 20.

Mr Ma­her said the sim­plic­ity of the win­ning en­try set it apart from the other en­tries.

‘‘We were im­pressed with how far it could be used across the agri­cul­tural sec­tor,’’ Mr Ma­her said.

‘‘It could be used on fuel tanks, hay bales and odd shaped items dif­fi­cult to tie down with con­ven­tional straps.’’

Mr Ben­nett re­called the farmer in­ven­tors award at Henty in 2001 when there was 30 en­tries.

‘‘I would en­cour­age the younger gen­er­a­tion to come along and bring their apps or ideas,’’ he said.

‘‘I al­ways bring two or three en­tries each time — it was a mat­ter of keep­ing the com­pe­ti­tion go­ing.

‘‘You can learn a lot from other in­ven­tors on how to im­prove your prod­ucts as some are top peo­ple in their field.’’

Mr Ben­nett said the Slip Tie was ideal for se­cur­ing wool bales and round hay bales.

He and his brother Adrian run 100 sheep and 200 cows, turn­ing off calves at 12 months of age.

‘‘I am con­stantly think­ing of what I can make to make jobs eas­ier,’’ Mr Ben­nett said.

‘‘I had planned this year to be my last for en­ter­ing the awards but now I will have to come back to de­fend my ti­tle.

‘‘We seem to have a feast or a famine in these com­pe­ti­tions, and I would hate to see it die away.’’

Mr Ben­nett hopes to have his prod­uct com­mer­cially avail­able within a few months.

Bet­ter late than never . . . Ba­rooga farmer Barry Ben­nett with his win­ning Slip Tie in the Henty Agri-In­no­va­tor Award.

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