New machine of the year a timely tool for CTF

Image of the Flatrac wheel track renovator

The Flatrac wheel track renovator has the unique ability to repair ruts caused by wheels without disturbing the soil structure on either side of the wheel track.

PHOTOS: Henty Machinery Field Days 

A machine designed to maintain soil structure while repairing controlled-traffic tramlines has been named as the 2015 Henty Machine of the Year

The Axial Throw Flatrac, developed by Victorian company TPOS Fabrications, has been creating considerable interest among grain growers since its official launch in August. This interest has translated into a win in the ‘Farmers Choice’ award at the Henty Machinery Field Days.

The award is presented to the most outstanding new piece of agricultural machinery exhibited at the field days, which are southern Australia’s single biggest open-air agricultural event.

Image of Richard Hazleton and Neale Postlethwaite

Henty Machinery Field Days Machine of the Year runner-up Richard Hazelton (left) and winner Neale Postlethwaite.

Henty Machine of the Year chair and Brocklesby, NSW, grain grower Matt Bergmeier says the awards showcase innovative equipment recently commercialised and available in the market place. Many winning machines at Henty have gone onto become standard equipment on farms throughout Australia.

A total of 16 machines and pieces of equipment were showcased in the 2015 Henty Machine of the Year Awards. The judging criteria included the machine’s purpose and suitability, scope of application, construction (durability and design), ease of maintenance and service, ease of operation and adjustment, availability of parts and overall value for money.

TPOS Fabrications engineer Trevor Postlethwaite, of Gooroc, Victoria, developed the Flatrac after 15 years of controlled-traffic farming on his family’s property had led to wheel ruts in the tramlines.

Attempting to repair the damage with machines that disturbed the soil structure only made the problem worse.

Mr Postlethwaite’s brother, Neale, says Trevor had the inspiration to create the Flatrac while moving a field bin. “Trevor was watching how it was moving and thought we could move dirt the same way,” he says. “We built a few prototype machines and eventually came up with the final version, which does the job really well.”

Flatrac has the ability to repair the wheel ruts without disturbing the soil structure on either side of the wheel track. Using patented axial throw technology, the machine simply moves soil across the surface back into the rut, when and where it is needed.

“Part of the ethos of no-till farming is not disturbing the soil, and this machine doesn’t,” Neale Postlethwaite says. “In wet conditions it is a real advantage, as you don’t slip off the track into a boggy mess either side of the renovated track.

“The soil and straw swept into the rut is packed firm by the large packing wheels at the rear of the machine. It creates a thatched hard track with stubble. It is well built and simply designed.”

Neale and Trevor Postlethwaite have applied for a patent for the Flatrac because there is no other machine in Australia or internationally that performs the task. Priced at just under $40,000, the brothers have sold several machines already.

Haze Ag Spreader

The ‘Highly Commended’ award went to the Haze Ag Spreader, an innovative fertiliser spreader. It features variable-sized cones that affect the timing of the product as it leaves the disc, creating a block spread pattern, while the hopper design reduces product build-up inside the bin.

Designer Richard Hazelton, of Cudal, NSW, says the machine took many years of research and trials. “A Haze Ag Spreader can spread anything from chicken and feedlot manure to urea and all granulated products without changing the discs,” Mr Hazelton says.

Mr Bergmeier says: “Richard spent a lot of time tweaking the rear spinners to handle and accurately throw a lot of different products. He also thought about workplace health and safety with the operator not having to get in the bin.”

More information:

Neale Postlethwaite,
0407 547 848,
nealepos@bluemaxx.com.au

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