Alberta entrepreneur Jim Grose has proven once again that necessity is the mother of invention.
The winner of this year’s Inventor’s Showcase at Manitoba Ag Days in Brandon found that while the larger B-Train trucks were a big advantage on the farm, they were a pain to unload.
So the Clive, Alta. farmer headed for the farm shop a few years ago and came up with an auger that retracts to allow hopper bottom trailers to drive into position.
Hydraulics lift the Xtend retractable auger hopper off the ground so it can pull directly back, a departure from the swing augers currently on the market.
But before he was ready for market, the shop burned down. The 2005 fire set Grose’s project back five years. The only good thing about it was both of his sons decided after the fire that they wanted to join the farm business – which was a major incentive for him to rebuild.
It took him four years to bring his idea to fruition, but Grose released his invention to the market just over a year ago.
The runner-up in this year’s competition was Pillar Lasers of Warman, Sask., which has invented a single-disc, double-shoot opener to improve the efficiency of single-pass seeding systems.
“Most single-disc systems are single shoot,” said developer Dick Friesen.
This opener allows a farmer to place seed and fertilizer at different levels and eliminates the phenomenon called “hair pinning” when the disc opener simply compresses the soil.
“There is enough separation that you can apply a good rate of fertilizer in one pass,” said Friesen, a former farm kid who worked in product development for Flexi-Coil in Saskatoon before retreating to the shop on the family farm to bring his own idea to life.
The product is being sold by Pillar as well as through Bourgault Industries under a licensing agreement.
Inventor’s Showcase is sponsored by the Manitoba Co-operator and Manitoba Ag Days. The winner receives $1,000 cash, $1,000 advertising in the Manitoba Co-operator and a plaque. The runner-up receives $500 in cash, $750 in advertising and a plaque.