Agri-Innovators showcases innovative ideas


Justin Dun, Temora, winner of the 2018 Henty Agri-Innovator Award with The Shepherd auto sheep feeder.

Farm inventors, backyard tinkerers and students are invited to showcase their innovative ideas in the Agri-Innovator of the Year Award at the 2019 Henty Machinery Field Days.

The entries must meet the criteria of having a practical on-farm application, be based on an original idea of the entrant and not be in full-scale production at the time entry.

The 2018 winner was Justin Dunn, Temora, for The Shepherd, an automated sheep feeder designed to deliver a controlled maintenance ration at pre-set times and reduce mismothering.

The 18m long feeder featured a 1.7 cubic metre grain storage bin and is capable of supporting a density of approximately 200 lambs at the trough.

The feeder is equipped with proximity switches to prevent overfilling of the feed trough, and a corrugated roof runs the full length of the tray as weather protection.

Since Justin’s win at Henty, he received NSW Government start-up funding to commercialise The Shepherd.

“We are now selling units hand over fist – the timing around a drought has been ideal,” he said.

The Shepherd went on from Henty to win the NAB Agribusiness Award of Excellence at the Australian National Field Days in October.

“The unit has changed a lot since then with updated technology, it is more robust, and the tray is adjustable for production and induction feeding,” Mr Dunn said.

HMFD chief executive officer Belinda Anderson said Agri-Innovators was aimed at tertiary and university students, farmers, backyard tinkerers and innovators.

“Entries can be any agribusiness invention, ranging from a mobile phone app or computer software program to the largest tillage machinery,’’ she said.

“This year’s entrants will receive exposure to the agricultural market place and the opportunity to network with potential manufacturers.’’

Justin Dunn encouraged all aspiring inventors to enter their concept in the Agri-Innovators Award.

“At some point you have to take off – it may be not finished or perfect but you will never get to that point until you have it out there commercially,” he said.

Entries close on Friday, August 16 with entry forms available from the HMFD office on 0269 293 305 or email admin@hmfd.com.au