Success with small things

Sometimes it’s attending to the small stuff that can result in big changes on the farm, Richard Reynolds writes, in the second of his two-part low-tech innovations series.

I AM RUNNING TWOonce-a-day herds and wanted one herd moved about the same time as I was milking so I tried an automatic gate-opener. With the addition of a cheap alarm clock from the Warehouse it is a middling success.

I couldn’t get to a stage where I could fully rely on it, but it is a mild success. I then bought a drone to check if the cows have moved.

I can see how the drone has the potential to save time and money, and I am still working on how to use it.

I had a washdown hose nozzle wear out and went to buy a replacement.

There were two discounted nozzles that claimed to use less water and be faster, and – did I mention – they were cheaper. Both claims seem to be true but they are really hard to turn off, I have had to put a tap on one of the ends so that they can get turned off.

But they are faster and clean better, so I am happy with them.

For years I have run without having a box on the motorbike. I don’t really know why, but I have.

I bought one this year and it is a game-changer, loaded with a jar of staples, hammer, pipe pliers and some insulators.

It’s a big winner and I will put one on the other bike when I get around to it.

Last summer for us was hot with cows needing more water so I bought some new water troughs with ballcock covers. They are cheap for what they are and there are no more broken trough arms. I have used the old troughs to double up in some of the paddocks. I’m still looking to put in more and with hot summers and needing to back fence more in winter this will be an ongoing effort.

I have finally been convinced to buy an attachment for the grease gun that locks on to the nipple. Winner – fewer blocked nipples and anything that gets machinery greased more is a big winner. Sometimes it helps if I listen to a salesperson!

These technology changes may not be as big as putting on cow collars, but technology can include small changes that speed up or simplify what we are already doing or big changes that completely change what we do.