Top award to fencing machine

Rebecca TurnerThe West Australian

There is always a better way to do a job, it is just that no one has thought of it yet.

That is the motto of David Slade, winner of the 2015 Farm Inventor Award at the Newdegate Machinery Field Days.

Mr Slade won the award for his fencing machine, which has been 10 years in the making and has already completed 10km of fencing at Glenridge Park, his family's property in Mt Barker.

While the machine might seem simple at first in that it can unroll and strain fences, on closer inspection the advantages are clear.

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"There are other commercial wire machines on the market but they don't do what mine does," Mr Slade said.

The machine fits onto a front-end loader and is hydraulically clamped and can be used to pull up kilometres of fencing or strain up to 12km of fencing. "Gone are the days of using a chain and clamp," he said. "This machine can weave in and out of a fence and can carry up to 3km of wire."

Mr Slade said he built the machine from a practical point of view, so that farmers could get on with their job. "It can roll up wire, including Ringlock and barb wire, it has multiple uses and can be configured in lots of ways; including to three-point linkage," he said.

Mr Slade operates a family farm with his wife Lyn, son Andrew and wife Nicole, daughter Vanessa and husband Scott.

The mixed livestock and cropping enterprise on 4500ha in Mt Barker features Greenline Maternal Composite, Border Leicester and Cheviot sheep studs and a Sussex cattle stud.

"Stock farmers must have good fences," Mr Slade said. "Our farm has 800km of fencing, which means we need to replace approximately 40km of fencing a year."

With more than 40 years of farming experience, Mr Slade is often working on new ideas to improve production. "Farmers have to share their ideas as no one else will do it for them," he said.

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