Farmer inventions showcased at Manitoba Ag Days

Along with new products from ag companies, the popular Inventor’s Showcase also features 
farmer-created innovations ranging from a mud scraper to a PTO-driven water pump

Last year Mark Devloo’s (left) Roto Mud Scraper won the Inventor’s Showcase and he’s back this year with a slightly improved version. He’s received the award from Jim Affleck of the Manitoba Co-operator, which sponsors the award.

Want to know what innovative farmers have been cooking up in their shops?

Then the Inventor’s Showcase at Ag Days is a must-see. It’s also a chance to see new inventions from ag companies, including some that have never been seen in public before.

“There’s quite a number of new products this year that companies have brought out and are revealing them for the first time at Ag Days,” says Blake Nestibo, the show’s co-chair.

On the technology side there’s a web-based agronomic program for Western Canada from AgChemExpert Ltd., which helps producers find the chemicals they need to manage weeds, diseases, and insects in different crop types. Farm at Hand will be displaying its multi-platform, cloud-based farm management program software and free app that allows farmers to track and access their management records (such as field and equipment lists, commodities in storage, commodity contracts and deliveries) at any time anywhere. Also on the web is, an online, real-time, cash physical grain-marketing tool connecting growers and buyers.

What farmer doesn’t like new inventions that help him get more out of his farm machinery? Leading Edge Industries is showing its Load Judge monitoring system which uses proximity sensors to help load grain trailers and estimate bushel and load sizes, with the data transmitted to the farmer’s smartphone.

New seeding technology from Clean Seed Agricultural Technologies is the CX6 Trident Smart Seeder drill with multi-product variable-rate opener. It has six separate product delivery systems that can apply rates independently across the entire drill. This allows farmers to place exactly the right amount and blend of fertilizer and seed populations on every square foot of the field.

Inventions to improve fertilizer and chemical applications include the Lump Buster, a machine manufactured by Rainy Day Fabricating of Assiniboia, Sask. that fits inside a custom-made hopper under the fertilizer bin and breaks up fertilizer lumps before they reach the auger.

Farmers can always use some technology to make harvesting more efficient and easier, and Sunnybrook Welding will introduce its axial combine concave frame system that allows farmers to interchange several different bolt-in boxes to adapt the threshing mechanism to whatever harvest conditions they are dealing with.

“The Inventor’s Showcase at Ag Days is a great way to show farmers and other members of the agricultural community what new products can do for them,” says Jan Raupers of Cardale Tech Corp., one of the companies featured at the Inventor’s Showcase.

Profiles for the Inventor’s Showcase

One: The CB Highlift

Killarney-area farmers Barry Reimer and Clarence Sawatzky were sick of struggling to change the tires on their high-clearance sprayer and dealing with jacks that didn’t provide enough stroke distance so they’d have to block up the tire with whatever was at hand.

“We’d use railway ties and they’ve slipped out and scared us silly at times,” says Reimer.

With safety and efficiency in mind, Reimer and Sawatzky designed and developed the CB Highlift high-clearance sprayer jack, which can support a 48- to 68-inch lift using a combination of steel pins, two teleposts and a hydraulic jack which are attached to a solid, two-foot square base. The adjustable jack can safely and continuously increase the jack height in steps from three to six inches at a time and has sturdy wheels to make it portable.

Reimer says he has always headed to the Inventor’s Showcase himself to find ideas and is keen to help out other farmers looking for something that will help them on their farms.

“I’m always looking for something new and affordable that I can maybe make in my shop,” says Reimer, who doesn’t mind if others do the same thing. “I encourage people if they want to build one themselves to do it, but send me their ideas about what could make it better.”

Two: Roto Mud Scraper

Last year Mark Devloo’s Roto Mud Scraper won the Inventor’s Showcase and he’s back this year with a slightly improved version. Devloo’s father originally developed the product because the family likes to seed as early as possible and so often has to deal with mud caking the equipment tires. After trying a number of stationary scrapers that didn’t work to his satisfaction, he designed a rotating scraper, which Mark then patented and started to build on the farm.

The Roto Mud Scraper has carbon steel scrapers which are offset from the tire and begin to spin only when there is mud built up. Devloo has sold over 15,000 of his scrapers, but is looking forward to being back at Ag Days where it all began.

“I always look forward to it because I farm, too, and it’s nice talking to farmers and knowing that you can help them out,” says Devloo. “We’re designing a good-quality product and the feedback from the farmers is awesome.”

Three: V-Wing Ditcher

The V-Wing Ditcher was developed by Jeff Penner, a young farmer from Swan River, who will be at the Inventor’s Showcase with Hi-Tec Industries of Portage la Prairie, the product’s manufacturer. The V-Wing Ditcher has a number of uses on the farm: It can dig profiled, flat-bottomed ditches that can be easily seeded to help prevent soil erosion and leaching; and also terrace land or just to move large amounts of soil around. Darin Hubscher of Hi-Tec Industries says the V-Wing has a ‘wow’ factor that he thinks will be a big hit at Ag Days.

Farmers “like how strong the V-Wing is built and that they are able to shape their land in such a way that they can make the land more productive and control water flow,” he says.

Four: Bin-Sense System

Bin-Sense™ is a wireless grain storage monitoring system developed by Kyle Folk, a former farmer and president of IntraGrain Technologies Inc. of Regina. Bin-Sense™ is battery and solar powered and connects temperature cables, remote units, and a master unit that monitors and collects information about grain temperature in the bins. The information is sent through the cellular network back to IntraGrain’s website, where the farmer can access it at any time from anywhere using a computer, smartphone or other mobile device.

“Bin-Sense helps to eliminate losses incurred from grain spoilage while in storage,” says Folk.

It’s this type of product that draws farmers to the Inventor’s Showcase, he says.

“The Inventor’s Showcase is a great place to exhibit because it has a track record of being the place producers look to for what’s new and available,” says Folk. “The product’s exposure to quality producers at Ag Days and specifically in the Inventor’s Showcase is very high.”

Five: PTO-Driven Water Pump

Originally from Germany, farmer Henry Raupers had an original idea for a PTO-driven water pump that requires no priming. The family moved to Newdale, Man. in 1999 and over the past few years, the Raupers have been perfecting the product they will show for the first time at this year’s Ag Days.

The pump is easy to set up and requires very little maintenance as it doesn’t require filters and won’t seize or burn out when it’s running dry, says Jan Raupers of Cardale Tech Corp., the family company which launched the product last spring.

“Farmers hook the pump up with the hose supplied behind a tractor and can back it into any water source,” he says. “They can lower the pump further into the water using hydraulics if necessary. Then they just turn on the PTO and the pump will start moving the water with no need to constantly monitor the equipment.”

The pump can also handle debris, ice, mud and plant matter without plugging, he says.

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