Three Year 13 boys used to life on-farm and problems encountered in everyday dairying have used their initiative to solve a simple-yet-frustrating occurrence during calving.
Most farmers will admit calving is not the easiest time of year – and catching newborn calves to take back to the milking shed can have its dramas.
This occurrence prompted St Paul’s Collegiate students Daniel Pearse, Sanraj Dhaliwal and Douwe De Boer to come up with Gate +.
Gate + is a custom-built frame that is built to fit any already existing calf trailer. The product has two saloon-type doors that open inwards with a slight gap between them, which gives the farmer ease of pushing the calves through the doors.
The doors are spring loaded so they return shut after the calf is loaded, so the animal cannot escape and farmers can efficiently get the animal onto a trailer without using two hands – which are usually tied up lifting and holding the animal in such a situation.
Daniel says Gate + can fit already existing calf trailers. “It eliminates the problem of having to put a calf down to slide open normal gates on these type of calf trailers, which don’t always slide very easily.
“With this gate, you walk up carrying your calf and slide it straight through the springed gates that open into the trailer, and shut behind the calf automatically.
“And with a pin holding the gate in place at one side, you can also lift this pin and open the gate as you would a normal gate to unload the calves out of the trailer.”
Daniel says the trio came up with the idea in March for their school’s innovation competition called the Crocodile Pit and came second, winning them a spot at the Innovations Tent at Fieldays.
Between the trio, they designed and welded the gate prototype at a garage at one of their homes. The boys have trialled Gate + on their families’ farms and hope to take it to market in the near future.