A revolutionary machine designed to maintain soil structure while repairing wheel tracks has been named as the 2015 Henty Machine of the Year.
The Axial Throw Flatrac, entered by Victorian company TPOS Fabrications, has been creating waves since its official launch at the Speed field days in August.
The machine impressed judges with its design and manufacture at the Henty Machinery Field Days on Monday.
The field days, southern Australia’s single biggest agricultural and open-air event, are on September 22-24.
Highly commended was Haze Ag, of Cudal,with their innovative fertiliser spreader.
A total of 16 machines and equipment at the cutting edge of agricultural technology were showcased in the Machine of the Year.
Announced on the opening day, this “farmers choice’’ award is presented to the most outstanding new piece of agricultural machinery exhibited at the field days.
It was judged by an independent panel of regional primary producers on Monday and presented by the Minister Assisting the Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack at the field days opening today (September 22).
In many cases the winning machine has gone on to become a standard piece of equipment on farms throughout Australia.
Judging criteria includes the machine’s purpose and suitability, scope of application, construction (durability and design), ease of maintenance and service, ease of operation and adjustment, availability of parts and overall value for money.
Last year, the award was won by the Tow and Fert Multi 4000, entered by Tow and Farm, Laverton North, Victoria.
MOTY chairman and Brocklesby grain grower Matt Bergmeier said the award was open to all machines on site released into the Australian market in the 12 months prior to the field days.
Mr Bergmeier said the award showcased innovative equipment already commercially available in the market place.
TPOS Fabrications engineer Trevor Postlethwaite, of Coonooer West, developed the revolutionary new concept Flatrac after many years of controlled traffic farming on the family farm had led to wheel ruts in the tramlines.
Attempting to repair the damage with machines that disturbed the soil structure only made the problem worse.
Flatrac has the unique ability to repair the damage without disturbing the soil structure on either side of the wheel track.
Using patented axial throw technology, the machine simply moves soil across the service back into the rut, when and where it is needed.
“It is perfect for a no till farming system, as no soil is moved if no rut is present,’’ Mr Postlethwaite said.
“In wet conditions, it is a real advantage, as you don’t slip off the track into a boggy mess either side of the renovated track.
“The soil and straw swept into the rut is packed firm by the large packing wheels at the rear of the machine.’’
Matt Bergmeier said the Flatrac catered for the growing market of controlled traffic.
“More and more farmers are going that way and it used a different way of not disturbing the soil on either side of the disc where it scrapes in the mound and levels it,’’ he said.
“It creates a thatched hard track with stubble – it was well built, simply designed and it was something different to do that job.’’
Runner-up, the Haze Ag spreader, was developed by Richard Hazelton, of Cudal, after many years of research and trials.
Haze Ag Spreaders feature variable sized cones, which affect the timing of the product as it leaves the disc, creating a block spread pattern, while the innovative hopper design reduces product build up inside the bin.
A Haze Ag spreader can spread anything from chicken and feedlot manure to urea and all granulated products without changing the discs.
Mr Bergmeier said the Haze Ag spreader was well built and easily serviced.
“Richard had spent a lot of time tweeking the rear spinners to handle and accurately throw a lot of different products,’’ he said.
“He thought about OH&S as far as the operator not getting in the bin.
“Overall, the judges were impressed with the build and technology of all the entries in the Machine of the Year Award.
“However, the Flatrac was a standout entry as far as a new product and innovation went.’’
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