ON THE LAND Ute hay bale lifter takes the Corowa Mar­ket Re­port headache out of feed­ing out

The Free Press (Corowa) - - FRONT PAGE -

A ute hay bale lifter de­signed to make feed­ing out round bales on the farm eas­ier is an en­try in the 2017 Henty Agri-In­no­va­tors Award.

Days­dale sheep pro­ducer Peter Mills came up with the idea of adapt­ing a lift­ing frame to the tilt tray of his farm ute and op­er­at­ing it re­motely.

“I don’t know how many stub­bies and hours have been spent on it – it’s been through five stages of de­vel­op­ment,’’ Mr Mills said.

The Agri-In­no­va­tors Award is de­signed for farm in­ven­tors, backyard tin­ker­ers and stu­dents.

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

The en­tries will be judged on Wed­nes­day, Septem­ber 20 with the win­ner an­nounced at The Stump at 11am.

Eighteen months ago, Mr Mills was driv­ing home with a load of pea straw when his ute col­lided with a truck, leav­ing him with a se­ri­ous spinal in­jury.

Af­ter re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion, he had a tilt tray fit­ted to his new ute to make chores eas­ier around the farm.

“When it was fit­ted I no­ticed it had a twoway hy­draulic ram so thought I could use it for lift­ing,’’ he said.

A trip to the Henty field days last year gave him ideas of how to con­struct the lift­ing frame.

“I have been work­ing on this pro­to­type since Christ­mas with the help of Fo­cus Engi­neer­ing at Corowa,’’ he said.

Mr Mills said it was ideal for quickly feed­ing out hay with­out the need for a fron­tend loader or trac­tor fit­ted with forks.

Once the tail­gate is re­moved, a swing-arm frame is bolted on, to­gether with a sup­port frame se­cured with a spring pin, and two pickup arms on the rear of the tray.

The sup­port frame drops down be­hind the round bale to se­cure it.

The swing-arm frame is ad­justable to cater for dif­fer­ent sized round bales.

The ute is po­si­tioned close to the round bale and the sup­port frame se­cured around it.

It is then hy­drauli­cally lifted onto the ute in a mat­ter of 20 sec­onds us­ing a hand held re­mote – the con­vex pick-up arms eas­ily sup­port­ing the weight of the 350kg bale.

Mr Mills said the lifter frame takes only min­utes to as­sem­ble.

“There are plenty of peo­ple with three or four prop­er­ties keen on the con­cept as of­ten the front end loader is tied up do­ing jobs when needed for feed­ing out,’’ he said.

“I showed it to a cou­ple of blokes at the Days­dale pub and they wouldn’t be­lieve I built it.

“I can’t find any­thing else sim­i­lar to this on the mar­ket.’’

The lifter fits ei­ther a seven or eight foot long ute tray and will be fit­ted to a Fal­con ute for dis­play at Henty.

It can be also used for load­ing wool bales or 44-gal­lon drums.

Al­though this is Peter’s first en­try in the Agri-In­no­va­tors Award, he has spent a life­time mod­i­fy­ing farm ma­chin­ery.

“Thirty years ago there was not a ma­chine on this prop­erty that was dead stan­dard for more than six months,’’ he said.

“Ev­ery­thing got al­tered straight away – Dad al­ways said if there was some­thing which could be bet­tered, we should bet­ter it.’’

Corowa Mar­ket held on Mon­day, Septem­ber 11 with 10,404 lambs yarded an in­crease of 1,986 from pre­vi­ous week and 5,056 sheep yarded an in­crease of 2,213.

Lamb num­bers lifted and in­cluded 7,819 new sea­son lambs.

The qual­ity of the new sea­son lambs was good with plenty of trade and heavy weights penned.

Old lambs were mixed and there were sev­eral good runs of heavy and ex­tra heavy lambs penned.

A full field of buy­ers op­er­ated in a cheaper mar­ket.

New sea­son lambs were $8 to $9 cheaper on the trade and heavy weights $12 to $14/head cheaper on the lighter 2 score lambs.

The 2 score lambs to 18kg sold from $104 to $115/head.

The medium and heavy trade weights ranged from $119 to $153/head.

Heavy new sea­son lambs ranged be­tween $140 and $170 with a few ex­tra heavy lambs top­ping at $179/head. Car­cass prices ranged from 580c to 620c/kg. Old trade lambs fell $9 and ranged from $111 to $136/head.

Heavy lambs were firm with sup­ply limited and lambs sold from $124 to $164 with ex­tra heavy lambs reach­ing $176/head.

Car­case prices ranged from 540c to 580c/kg on most.

Merino lambs sold to solid prices rang­ing from $110 to $123/head.

The best of the heavy hoggets reached $136/ head.

Mut­ton num­bers lifted and qual­ity was mixed with mostly ewes penned.

Prices were down by $10 to $12/head on most.

Medium weight ewes sold from $80 to $110/ head.

Heavy cross­bred ewes made from $112 to $128/head. Merino wethers reached $123/head. Ewe car­cass prices av­er­aged 385c/kg.

Peter Mills in­vented the ute hay bale lifter to make feed­ing out round bales eas­ier on-farm.

Har­vey Ben­ton From Cor­co­ran Parker Wan­garatta with Rex Ben­ton from “Red­hill” Springhurst who sold 22 new sea­son lambs for $146.20.

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