Mike Annetts doesn’t spend his days opening and shutting farm gates, but farmers he knows do.
When they told the industrial arts teacher at McCreary High School that all that repetitive mounting and dismounting from a tractor or any other vehicle just to open gates was basically “a pain in the butt,” Annetts set to work.
His invention, the Lift and Go, a 16-foot livestock gate that opens remotely — and pivots upward instead of swinging — was awarded second prize by judges in the Inventors’ Showcase at Ag Days.
The product needs just a small level area for the base, while the receiver is mounted to the gate’s panel or post.
Several farmers around McCreary area now use the Lift and Go, and feedback received by Annetts is that it is a time saver. Over a period of months, that time spent manually opening and closing gates really adds up, Annetts said, adding that eliminating the need to disembark can also help reduce the potential for slips and falls too.
First-place winner at Ag Days Inventors’ Showcase was Killarney-area farmer and president of Reimer Robotics, Matthew Reimer, for an invention that essentially turns a tractor into a robot.
Honourable Mention went to Harvest Sweep (Corn Header Technology) for a redesigned kit that replaces stock components of deck plates and gathering chains on a corn head to save at least 80 to 85 per cent of corn shatter loss.
Thirteen companies in all entered the 2016 exhibition, which is sponsored annually by the Manitoba Co-operator at Ag Days.
Other inventions ranged from new kinds of applicators for treating seed and software for field management and tracing, to grain-bin lid openers and new products for more safely handling newborn calves.