Flax buncher machine nets inventor $5,000 in new contest

REGINA — Canada’s Farm Progress Show had a new feature this year called Farmyard Inventions, in which contestants entered farm-made agriculture tools and show visitors voted for their favorite product.

Three contestants entered the competition, which had a first place prize provided by Peavey Mart valued at $5,000.

Ryan Dennis from Holdfast, Sask., took the honours with his Better Buncher, a rotary flax buncher that puts flax straw in a pile for burning.

“When we were growing flax, we were looking for ways to deal with the residue …. There were a few options out there, but none that were anything that I thought was adequate for what we wanted,” Dennis said.

He eventually decided a rotary buncher would work best because operators wouldn’t have to stop every time they made a pile.

“It’s a 12 volt system, so you don’t need any hydraulics or anything,” he said.

“When it gets to the point where you want to dump, if your piles are lined up or you’re in a position where you want a pile, you can just push a button and it comes out the back. The rake flips around and it starts the next pile instantly.”

The Better Buncher retails for $12,000 and will be available for sale this fall.

Evan Sauer from Edenwold, Sask., entered the contest with a grain sampler he developed that takes samples directly from swing-augers.

It bolts onto the side of an auger on the bottom of the boot where the swing come up. Many grain augers already have an access panel where it can be installed.

“For most grain augers, you don’t have to drill or cut, it’s just direct bolt on,” he said.

“I have an adapter plate for Wheatheart. It’s a direct bolt-on for Sakundiak, Meridian and Brandt. Its’ also a direct bolt-on for the Brandt grain baggers with the swings on them.”

Sauer said the device allows users to get a better representative sample from trucks than by using scoops.

“It works well if you have hired men, or for people who don’t really care about sampling,” he said.

“It’s quick and easy, you’re out of the dust and instead of grabbing heavy or light grain depending on where you’re grabbing from the truck, this is a very mixed up, representative sample.”

The sampler sells for $150, and the Wheatheart adapter plates sells for $40.

The other invention entered in the contest was the BinKnocker, which is the brainchild of Ronald Gramlich of Bashaw, Alta.

It consists of a puck tied to a rope that fastens along the side of a bin. Users can raise or lower the puck with the fasteners provided in the kit and then bang the puck against the bin to find out how full it is.

The impact makes a different sound depending on whether there is material in the bin or not.

“Right now we have all stainless steel hardware and a nice double braid rope that we had made right at Red Deer,” Gramlich said.

“It fastens on any bin in under an hour, and there are a variety of brackets that are available for fastening onto the legs of hopper bins and onto the catwalks of bins if that’s what you have across the top.”

The BinKnocker kit costs $275.

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