VIDEO: Innovative wheel track renovator takes out Henty top gong

By: Carene Chong, Video by: Carene Chong

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An inventive machine that repairs wheel ruts in controlled traffic farming operations without disturbing soil structure has been named the 2015 Henty Machine of the Year.

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The award-winning Axial Throw Flatrac was designed and manufactured in Australia by Victoria-based machinery fabrication company TPOS Fabrications.

An independent panel of judges decided the winner based on several criteria including the machine’s purpose and suitability, scope of application, construction ease of maintenance, ease of operation, availability of parts and overall value for money.

The award was presented during the opening ceremony of the 2015 Henty Machinery Field Days on September 22.

Henty to continue focus on agricultural machinery  

Henty Machine of the Year chairman Matt Bergmeier says the Flatrac catered for the growing market of controlled traffic.

"More and more farmers are going that way and it used a different way of not disturbing the soil on either side of the disc where it scrapes in the mound and levels it," he says.

"It was well built, simply designed and it was something different to do that job."

TPOS Fabrications director Neale Postlethwaite says the Flatrac’s ability to repair wheel ruts while maintaining soil structure is its biggest point of difference compared to other machines on the market.

"So it basically just removes the loose soil that’s been pulled out of the side of the wheel track and puts it back into the track," he says.

"The soil is mixed with a bit of residue which creates a mud brick and makes a nice firm wheel track again and it maintains its integrity."

Key components of the Flatrac include augers that sweep the soil into the middle of the track; a hydraulic drive that operates the augers; gauge wheels on each side of the machine that sets its working depth; and large packing wheels at the back of the Flatrac which serves to compress the soil to make a flat and level track.

Postlethwaite hopes the award will help TPOS Fabrications spread the word about the Flatrac to the rest of Australia.

"(Winning the award) is a really good result for us as a small company as it reinforces our belief that a product we’ve developed and designed can fix a problem faced by controlled traffic farmers," Postlethwaite says, who practises controlled traffic farming himself.

"I’m hopeful that it will allow us to promote the machine to a wider area of the country, show people what the machine can do and from there generate some more sales."

Postlethwaite adds the Flatrac, which is valued at just under $40,000 comes standard as a three-metre wheelbase machine. However, TPOS Fabrications is prepared to build the machine to other sizes if required.

The runner-up award went to Cudal farmer and engineer Richard Hazelton for his Haze Ag spreader, also designed and made in Australia.

His range of spreaders feature variable sized cones which affect the timing of the product as it leaves the disc which creates a block spread pattern. An innovative hopper design on the machine reduces product build up inside the bin.

Watch our video review of the Haze Ag Toogong fertiliser spreader

A Haze Ag spreader can be used to spread a wide range of products including chicken and feedlot manure; urea and all granulated products without having to change discs.

"Richard has spent a lot of time tweaking the rear spinners to handle and accurately throw a lot of different products," Machine of the Year chairman Matt Bergmeier says.

"He thought about OH&S as far as the operator not getting in the bin.

"Overall, the judges were impressed with the build and technology of all the entries in the Machine of the Year award."

The Henty Machinery Field Days was held this year from September 22 to 24.

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