THE designers of a modified hay baler were praised for their bush ingenuity at the Farm Inventor of the Year awards yesterday.
The Bale Bundler combines 14 small bales into one big bale and won the over $1000 section.
“We were looking for a more efficient way to handle lots of little bales, so we took an old 3x3 foot baler and modified it,” Phil Snowden said.
The Tocumwal hay producer had the help and support of his wife, Lynda, who had both been working on the concept for the past two years.
“Now we can shift 14 small bales as a single unit using a front-end loader or forklift,” Mr Snowden said.
“The small bales are still individually tied so we get the marketing advantage of small bales with the handling convenience of big bales.
“The invention saves a lot of time and effort as there is no hand stacking required to load trucks.”
The couple also took out the encouragement award for their Hay Cap Cover, a cover made of recycled plastic that protects large hale bales from rain and vermin.
“We have had a very positive response for this invention today,” Mrs Snowden said.
“We hope to get it into commercial production by next year.
“We tried a lot of different materials, but found recycled plastic best as it had to be economical as well.”
It was the first time the couple had entered the invention awards and they will go onto the nationals in Orange next month.
“We just wanted something to take our minds off the drought, so we focused on inventing these concepts and made a positive out of it,” Mrs Snowden said.