Machinery Innovator of the Year

2020 Finalists

Sponsored by McHale

Showcasing the innovation spearheaded from concept to creation by farmers, growers, horticulturalists, farm workers and engineers.

Chris Ecob, C.G. Ecob, Oxfordshire

Not content with traditional agricultural trailer designs, engineer Chris Ecob took it upon himself to come up with a new concept of silage/grain trailer. Taking about 10 years to bring to fruition, he recalls the biggest challenge was addressing axles and suspension, to make flotation tyres work properly. The solution came in the form of wishbone suspension, which makes the trailer more stable and keeps the tyres in constant contact with the ground. Other innovations include the incorporation of plastic sidewalls, the inclusion of a gully in the floor to make the most of available space, and the use of a single spine chassis.

Falkiner Small, Gaffer Staples, Co Armagh

As a semi-retired farmer with a large flock of sheep, Falkiner Small found fencing the fields was a major problem. Keen to overcome his frustrations, he designed the Gaffer Staple and the Gaffer 8 to make the job of attaching wire to hedges and fence posts a far simpler and safer process. The Gaffer Staple is attached to a hedge or fence post using a rechargeable drill, fitted with a magnetic holder with a positive-drive screw which holds the Gaffer Staple in place. They can also be unscrewed and re-used with the drill. Falkiner has sold his staples through his webpage and his social media platforms of Facebook and Instagram, establishing a good level of repeat custom.

Gordon Stephen, Wagglehill Croft, Aberdeenshire

Gordon Stephen and his wife Amanda raise highland cattle which they sell direct to customers, alongside the running of an agricultural contracting business. No stranger to creating equipment to make farming life easier, such as calf catchers, Gordon’s recent development sees him focus on the challenges of weatherproofing round bales. Due to lack of building space, Gordon wanted to store round bales of hay and straw outside during the winter. The invention fits to the front linkage of a tractor and wraps the circumference of the bale, leaving the ends open. Bales are individually wrapped so can be either stacked or left in rows.

Paul Wilson, Scorpion Vision, Northumberland

Aiming to expand its repertoire, Scorpion Vision is the brainchild of Paul Wilson who has developed a system to enable automated and accurate cutting and trimming of vegetables. The system is currently being employed to peel Brussels sprouts, top and tail swedes and trim the root end of leeks. The latter system is done with sub-millimetric accuracy. The new vegetable trimming system uses a combination of 3D (stereo vision) and deep learning, to accurately locate the cutting point on a vegetable. The diverse features of a live organic product require analyses of the product in 3D so the whole shape can be measured before a cutting decision is taken, says Paul.