Innovation drives the agriculture industry and a lot of it is on display at Agri-Trade.
“The technology is diversifying every year, and the ideas keep getting better,” said Rod Bradshaw, a vegetable and crop grower from Innisfail.
He’s also chair of Agri-Trade’s ag innovations committee that chooses three products for its innovations awards.
“We believe this year’s winning entries will have broad appeal and could be readily adopted by a lot of farmers,” said Bradshaw.
This year’s winners are the STOCKade ST400i, the Tire Jogger, and Michelin North America (Canada) CargoXBib high flotation tire.
“No more sore black thumbs, no more sore arms and shoulders from swinging a hammer beating in staples for hours on end, no more bleeding from cuts by sharp staples while digging them out of a bucket,” said Axle Boris of FenceFast, a distributor of this nine-gauge cordless fence stapler (see photo at top).
STOCKade first developed staplers for the New Zealand market and the introduction of the ST315 pneumatic batten fence stapler “dramatically increased the productivity of farmers and contractors alike,” said Boris.
The launch of the ST400 in 2013 saw STOCKade expand internationally into the U.S., Canada, U.K., and Australia. The development of the ST400i in 2016 was “driven by farmers and fencing contractors wanting a powerful and portable post stapling system not reliant on compressors and hoses.”
Launched in Canada at the Ag in Motion farm show this summer, the ST400i uses gas fuel cells and a Li-ion battery to fire staples.
“The response from everyone who tried a demo of the tool was overly positive,” Boris said.
The stapler, which weighs just over nine pounds, can hold two strips of 25 staples and the depth can be adjusted so there is no striker damage to the staple.
“With the ability to drive staples at a minimum of five times faster and in some cases, in excess of 15 times faster this tool is a real time saver, whether you put a monetary value on your time or not,” said Boris. “Yes the cost to purchase our staples is high per staple to that of loose pail hand staples, however, when one factors in the cost and time savings on labour we estimate it to only be a cent or two more per staple.”
Several custom fencers along with ranchers are already using this product, he said.
“We also have many who have been using our pneumatic ST400 stapler,” he said. “However, having to pack around an 80-pound air compressor to supply it with air makes this tool far less convenient.”
FenceFast is the Canadian sole distributor for STOCKade. It sells it online and has a list of dealers at www.fencefast.ca.
The stapler retails for about $2,000, but the company rents it for $95 a day at its Langley, B.C. location and expects tool rental companies in ranching areas will start to offer it.
“For those who perhaps cannot justify purchasing a tool, it is our goal to make the tool more readily available for rental,” Boris said. “If you’re just fencing 10 acres, you might not need to own the tool. Those who do purchase the tool, however, can say they own the largest cordless stapler in the world.”
Safety is paramount with this product.
“It makes handling dangerous skinny tires very easy,” said Randy Raczynski of Raczynski Sales in Fillmore, Sask.
The Tire Jogger is a skid steer attachment that is designed for handling high-clearance sprayer tires, but can handle any farm tire from 44 inches to 104 inches in diameter. Because it is a skid steer attachment, the tire can be picked up whether it’s laying flat on the ground or standing. Once on the attachment, the tire can then be rotated either manually or electrically.
“You do not touch the tire to put it on,” Raczynski said.
Developed by North Dakota farmer Greg Grengs, the Tire Jogger uses hydraulic cylinders to grab, hold, and rotate large tires from the safety of the skid steer. Two large metal ‘arms’ (that are four inches wide and 16 inches long) securely grip and hold the treads on large tires.
The device fits any skid steer with a universal mounting bracket, however, machines 60 hp or larger are recommended because the weight is carried well in front of the machine. Skid steers are preferred because of the hydrostatic drive to inch forward or backward.
The operator has a clear and close view in front of him which is especially important when trying to line up bolt patterns on tires. Plates are available for New Holland bidirectionals, also.
“They didn’t want to make it for regular tractor loaders because you are too far away and there is too much movement in your loader,” said Raczynski.
The Tire Jogger can lift up to 2,000 pounds. A pressure gauge is visible so that the operator can tell how hard they are squeezing the tire.
The early response has been great, he said.
“I was at the Saskatoon Crop Production Show and I had one guy walk by, watch the video, walk over to me and hand me a cheque saying, ‘I want one,’ without asking any questions. He said, ‘I came so close to getting killed by a skinny tire falling on me, it’s not going to happen again.’”
Raczynski Sales (www.grainsystems.ca) is the sole distributor in Canada.
Michelin North America (Canada) CargoXBib high flotation tire
This tire is made for manure tankers or trailers and is one of the new additions to Michelin’s recently revamped large implement line.
Designed with Michelin Ultraflex Technologies, the tire is able to fully utilize central inflation systems and get to the lowest pressures possible while in the field for the most soil protection possible. Since there is a greater volume of air in a wider tire, it makes it possible to lower the tire pressure and reduce the impact on the soil. For a manure taker with a load of 13,000 points at 25 m.p.h., the CargoXBib HF tires can be inflated to 41 psi, well below the recommendations of competitors’ tires.
This tire is compatible with remote inflation capability, improving performance and productivity. It also has solid rounded shoulders, which prevents irregular wear and improves manoeuvrability.