With grain augers and conveyors going the way of farms – getting bigger – the days when a couple of farmhands could hoist them up and manoeuvre them around the yard and into position are gone.
And using tractors to move them around corners and buildings in tight yards is no easy task either, as MacGregor farmer Bernie Toews discovered one day when trying to get an auger lined up to some bins. “Because of culverts and approaches, I couldn’t get into the yard,” he said. “I had to back up way down the road and drive across the field to get into position.”
So Toews did what many other farmers would do under the circumstances. He made a beeline for his shop.
What emerged after three months of trial and error was the prototype for the Auger-Steer, this year’s patent-pending winner of the Inventors Showcase, sponsored by the Manitoba Co-operator, at Manitoba Ag Days.
This nifty device, manufactured by his company, Triple Star Manufacturing Ltd., is placed between the wheel and axle of an auger unit, allowing it to turn in tune with the tractor that’s pulling it. It makes for easier manoeuvring around obstacles on yards, assists with lining up with bin holes, aids when turning corners on roads and narrow driveways and helps the operator hold centre line when filling sheds.
The kits, which are available for between $1,350 and $1,650 are available to modify all makes of augers and conveyers.
Now why didn’t the auger manufacturers think of that? Toews, for one, is glad they didn’t. He won a $1,000 prize and $1,000 worth of advertising in the Manitoba Co-operator.
Second place in this year’s competition went to Dynamic Ditchers, of Oakbank, Manitoba, the company that has developed the Wolverine field ditching machine as an alternative to the scraper.
Anthony Vaags and his son Glenn have created a machine
that cuts, churns and spits the ditch dirt between 75 and 150 feet, eliminating the need to empty scrapers and smooth out the uneven piles left in their wake.
This year’s judges gave an honourable mention to Curry Industries Ltd., which created a bioretractable control cover for containing methane ammonia, odour and heat.