Oh, man, you just can’t beat those great producer ideas. Usually the goal of these home-built inventions is to make work simpler, or life easier and that’s what two Alberta producers came up with at the Western Canadian Grazing Conference in Edmonton, recently. The Innovation of the Year Awards were sponsored by Lakeland College of Vermillion, Alta.
Jane Charlotte of Koru Farms near Rocky Mountain House — west of Red Deer — won first place in the 2008 innovation awards with her idea for a corral building jig. There will be more on this in an upcoming issue of Cattleman’s Corner this winter, but the jig that can be used for building a corral or curved chute system, allows a single person to build the system, keeps the planks in place during construction and ensures that the planks are in a continuous board run with no ragged edges. In recognition of her award, Charlotte received 75 PowerFlex fence posts.
Second place award for a great idea went to Stan Marshall, who also ranches in the Rocky Mountain House area who created a small post puller based on a simple lever system. Marshall’s puller can be used with a variety of posts including PowerFlex, small wood, fibreglass and steel T posts. For his efforts, Marshall received a Garmin Rino 130 GPS.
Two other great ideas which will also be featured later, include a low cost grain feeding system, designed by Tim Donald and Grant Lastiwka, that’s made out of a set of old stock racks. And, a shy young Peace River region beef producer by the name of Christoph Weder came up with a low cost pasture watering system he made out of a $900 ‘dilapidated water truck’. It is a good portable, watering system, although Weder warns don’t expect to stop on a dime. The brakes are iffy.
But, these ideas, which were evaluated and voted upon by more than 300 producers attending the annual conference, will give cattle producers several shop projects to consider before the next grazing season begins.