By Dwayne Summach, PAg, Livestock and Feed Extension Specialist
When faced with a problem, agricultural producers readily look for a solution. Often those solutions involve taking something that was developed for another purpose and adapting it to assist them in solving their dilemma. For example, twelve gauge, high tensile, smooth wire works great to build electric fence, but it doesn’t roll up easily to use for temporary fence. Poli-braid rope makes constructing the temporary fence easier, but the fine filaments that conduct the electricity are prone to breaking. The solution would be to repurpose light, small diameter, aircraft cable as temporary fencing wire as it rolls up readily and carries the current well. Need a non-conductive surface to roll and store the cable on? Find an empty poly hose reel commonly used for distributing hydraulic hose, fashion a bracket to mount the reel on and your solution is found. Need a way to carry the step in posts for the temporary fence? Try repurposing an old golf bag, it already comes with an adjustable carrying strap.
Looking for a way to monitor water trough levels without having to actually visit the pasture? Purchase a trail or game camera that was originally intended to monitor wildlife activity. Set it up to view the water trough, maybe even link it in to the power from the solar panels powering the water pump, set it to send three pictures a day to the app on your smart phone, and checking the water in the pasture becomes as easy as checking a text on your phone - subject to cellular service coverage.
Need a nearly indestructible water trough? Get a mining tire and cut a side wall out. Lay it in position, pour a concrete plug (it is recommend to add a riser pipe) in the hole on the bottom side, and let it cure. Once the concrete is dry, fill with water and let the cattle drink. Need a simple, cost effective, full flow, low pressure valve to keep the trough full? One of the most unique float valves I’ve encountered was a steel cage, made from a section cut from a large diameter pipe, with a vinyl basketball as the float to push against the two inch inlet tube mounted solidly on top.
Remote controlled grain chutes, full bin alarms, closed circuit television cameras used to monitor bin levels, viewing the traffic behind, or seeing where the end of the auger is positioned, are all examples of using a technology that was designed for one purpose, and re-tasked to make farming easier.
Where do you find out about these inventions or re-tasked items? Probably at a field day, farm show or you read about it in an agricultural publication. Take time away from your farm or ranch this summer and attend a local agronomy tour, Ag in Motion, or the Saskatchewan Pasture Tour to learn more tricks like these.
To find out about events happening in your area, visit the our online Events Calendar on our website or call the Agriculture Knowledge Centre at 1-866-457-2377.