BREAKTHROUGH: Southern NSW farmer and inventor Barry Bennett won the Henty Machinery Field Days Agri-Innovator award with his slip tie, to secure loads on the back of utes or trailers.

After 16 years and 46 attempts Barooga tinkerer ticks all boxes

It’s 46th time lucky for persistent tinkerer

It has taken Barry Bennett almost 50 attempts but the Barooga livestock producer – and avid tinkerer – has won the prestigious Henty Machinery Field Days Agri-Innovator of the Year award.

For 16 years Mr Bennett has been entering the field days’ competition, presenting 46 of his inventions to the judges before success on Wednesday with his Slip Tie – one of two entries he had in the competition this year.

The Slip Tie evolved when Mr Bennett had problems with a fuel tank moving on the back of his old farm ute and tandem trailer.

It stops any movement by the spacer strap and secures fuel tanks or hay rolls on utes and trailers.

The five entrants this year included a device to make unrolling poly pie easy from Luke Howard (Bluey’s Plumbin’ and Diggin’), Culcairn, a one-person ute hay bale lifter from Peter Mills, Daysdale, Mr Bennett’s second entry – a load binder strap gripper and a non-return irrigation valve from Peter Cocciardi, Narre Warren in Victoria, which was highly commended.

“With this idea you can put the straps on both sides, your fuel drum or container doesn’t move,” Mr Bennett said. “It’s held solid and you can also still lift the lid or access the top of the container because there’s nothing to hold it down.

The simple strap fastener is machined at Jmar Engineering, Shepparton, after Mr Bennett used an angle grinder, drill and steel file to make his original prototype out of three inch steel.

“They took my big thing and machined it back to just a neat little apparatus that can fit any size thing,” he said.

“Because they’re so economical you can have thave them behind the seat in the ute and just get them out when you need them.

The fasteners can be attached to any length strapping and tightened. They are expected to go on the market for about $12 each.

“Maybe they’ll be $50 for a set of four. They just attach to whatever strap you have, they are very flexible.”

Field days committee spokesperson Sheree Hamson said the Agri-Innovators award was open to any invention that had a practical agri-business use, ranging from a phone or tablet app to a large scale machine.

“The entries have to meet the criteria of having an on-farm application, be based on an original idea and not be in full scale production at the time of entry,” she told the large crowd assembled at The Stump for the winner’s announcement.

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