A Waikato business has developed a handy timer-operated latch that can automatically open farm gates.
Novel Ways owner Graham Lynch says the "Batt-Latch" is proving to be a big time-saver for small and big farms alike.
Farmers using the device say it saves them up to 300 hours a year because they don't have to follow the cows to the
dairy or feed pad. The gate opens and the cows come through on their own.
"There are some bigger farms that have three or four of these latches," Mr Lynch says. "Other farmers who have run-offs
say 50 kilometres from their main farm can stagger the automatic opening of the different gateways over the week."
There is also a clear benefit for dairy farms with the automatic timed-release of the gate latch before or after
milking, or for general stock movements. The latch can also be used for other farming applications, such as releasing
border dyke irrigation flaps.
With a full week's clock built into the pocket-sized device, relevant information can be keyed in to release gateways at
set times of the day, or on particular days.
"It can save farmers having to get up earlier in the morning just to open a gate, or gates, to let the cows through to
the milking shed yard," Mr Lynch says. "As well, it can save considerable time if you are wanting to split up your team
of several hundred milking cows into, say, four different herds."
Mr Lynch says he is grateful for the support provided by Technology New Zealand - part of the Foundation for Research,
Science and Technology - which invests in research into new products, processes or services. "Their funding allowed me
to employ a student to carry out vital research and development work to fine-tune some aspects of the product."
The work was under the Technology for Industry Fellowship scheme, which allowed University of Waikato student Imtiaz
Aziz to do product research and development work as part of his bachelor of science degree.
The latch device has an in-built gearbox that runs on batteries and can operate with nine kilograms of load. It can
release standard spring or tape gateways.
"It is a unique product internationally and I am starting to get interest and sales from Ireland, the United States and
Australia," Mr Lynch says.
Contact: * Graham Lynch, Novel Ways. Ph: (07) 856-6270. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org * Ian Gray, Technology New Zealand at
the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology (Auckland Office), (09) 912-6730, or 021 660 409. Website:
Prepared on behalf of the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology by ID Media Ltd. Contact: Ian Carson (04)
477-2525, Email: email@example.com