CSIRO scientists have charged at a farm invention like a bull at a gate and made an Australian farmer’s innovative idea even safer.
SaferGate, the brainchild of Inverell’s Edward Evans, has just undergone rigorous testing by the CSIRO and with a few little tweaks and added extras, will go a long way towards preventing farmer death and injury due to crushing.
Statistics reveal 211 farmers were caught, crushed, jammed or pinched in, or between, objects in a five-year period from 2000-2005.
A CSIRO-developed “crash test cow” was crucial to the testing regime, and although at 60kg, it weighs much less than a raging bull, tests concluded that SaferGate would prove even more effective no matter how hard or fast the gate was hit.
Mr Evans was moved to invent the device after he broke his leg in a farm gate accident on his Inverell property.
Unlike a traditional cattle gate, the SaferGate swings away from the farmer or operator when a beast charges it, via a pivot mechanism that splits the gate into two pieces when struck. This allows the part of the gate in front of the operator to fold back on itself and away from the operator.
Research project leader Peter Westgate said the CSIRO had never been asked to test the performance of a cattle gate before, but knowing how big an issue safety was for Australian farmers and operators, the research and development team took to the challenge with relish.
They built a test cow, which boasts authentic horns and hide, to simulate the force of a bull or cow charging a cattle gate, used on farms, feedlots, in trucks and abattoirs across Australia.
During testing, the 60kg cow was hoisted five metres in the air before being launched at the gate. Following testing, slight improvements were made to the original design including the addition of a magnet on the SaferGate hinge which allows the gate to remain in a steady position until hit. An additional handle was placed on top of the gate to make it easier for workers on horseback to open the gate.
Mr Evans won ABC’s New Inventors in 2011 and $10,000 worth of research and development with the CSIRO was part of his prize package. He was also a finalist in WorkCover NSW’s Safe Work Awards 2010.
“With the help of CSIRO, it’s great to finally see my vision for
SaferGate coming to life,” Mr Evans said.
“The improvements we have made to the original gate now mean it is even safer and easier to operate on foot or on horseback. I hope to see it helping to improve the safety of Australia’s farmers and cattle gate operators very soon.”
Mr Evans’ company plans to launch SaferGate initially in Australia and it should be available for sale within six months. He will then take the idea to the United States of America.
He will exhibit the innovation at Australia’s largest primary industry supermarket, the AgQuip field days, this week at Gunnedah.