Many frustrating fencing trips up the paddock to find a tool was missing prompted a NSW farming family to design a slip-on fencing tray.
William and sons Peter and Andrew Kelly run an engineering business from their farm workshop at Rugby, in the NSW southern tablelands, and found fencing repairs in steep country were consuming much of their time.
They wanted to minimise the amount of time spent loading and unloading fencing gear onto a trayback ute.
The result was a slip-on unit easily loaded with tractor forks or a forklift, and it is among the entries in this year’s Henty Agri-Innovators Award.
The tray is equipped with a hinged joint holder, netting holder, wire spinner, barbed wire feeders on the left and right side of the vehicle, and multiple port air manifolds to supply air from the compressor from either side.
There is a holder to secure air or petrol driven post drivers, storage space under the wire spinner for a crowbar, shovel, hand dolly or chainsaw, and an open tray area with enough space for additional rolls of wire, a welder or generator and spare steel posts.
The tray features a long air hose reel and has a small 9m air reel on the drivers side for small, quick repair work plus a large toolbox for storage.
“It has two fork pockets so it can be lifted on and off with a forklift or tractor,’’ Peter Kelly said.
Optional extras include jack-off legs and a crane for lifting on the wire or holding the post driver.
Mr Kelly said a trailer version was also available.
The business, Kellybuilt Engineering, was originally established by his father, William Kelly, as a manufacturer of tube and pipe benders.
Peter took on the business in 2014 and produces lightweight stock crates, ute tipping trays, cattle loading ramps and dog kennels.
“We designed the fencing trailer to meet our own fencing needs and have since built a few for locals who expressed an interest in them as there is nothing like it on the market,’’ he said.
“The unit is great for new fence erection and it has been a time saver for fence repair work.
“All wire and tools are on hand for fence repairs and there is no need to spend a heap of time loading all the gear on, then off again if the vehicle is needed to run into town or do another job.’’
William suggested his son enter the slip-on fencing unit in the Henty Agri-Innovations award.
“Dad was always keen on looking at the farm inventors competition at Henty and he placed in the award in the 1970s,’’ Peter said.
“Our family always comes to Henty as it is our field days of choice and it is tailored to our market.’’
The family run 7000 crossbred ewes and 500 beef breeders across 3441ha of open to steep granite country.
“There is a 200m elevation difference over the place and only a four wheel drive ute can access the fences in a lot of places,’’ Mr Kelly said.