An invention to help make it easier to drive posts through hard surfaces has seen Maydan Feedlot named innovator of the year at the SmartBeef conference, being held by the Australian Lot Feeders' Association.
Maydan Feedlot, owned by Hancock Agriculture, pipped three other finalists at the post for the award, which recognises feedlots' innovations devised to solve problems or improve productivity, safety or welfare within their business.
The Warwick-based feedlot created the drill stem driver to be fitted into an excavator driver attachment for quick and efficient driving of drill stem posts being used to replace old fencing and bunk rails.
Integrated Animal Productions' Philip Dew, presenting the award, said using the driver allowed drill stem posts to go through hard surfaces like rock or concrete aprons quickly, taking approximately one minute, 20 seconds per post.
"The challenge was laid out at Maydan Feedlot to the crew of four to replace 60 metres of old bunk rail in one pen," he said.
"A team of four people had cattle out of the pen at 6.30am, cut out the old posts, bashed in the new posts through the apron and welded new rails... and had the cattle back in the pen at 3.30pm that afternoon.
"The cost of this attachment was $1500."
Maydan Feedlot manager Chris Rickert said the drill stem driver had made post replacement far more efficient.
"About two and a half years' ago we started develop it, we had a few little modifications along the way," he said.
"It has basically an end on it that fits within the drill stem and so it's still hitting it but that end doesn't leave inside the drill stem so we can actually move the top of the drill stem around and make sure we stay true to the line.
"We can replace a lot of posts and not take cattle off feed and not have to empty that pen for any length of time.
"I've got a very good team in Bryce Turner and Mick Brown that did a lot of this work with the drill stem attachment."
The runner-up was Garvan Park Feedlot, Victoria, for their liquid disk distributor, designed to help disperse liquids more evenly within a mixer and hence reduce mixing time.
The innovation cost about $50 for welding rods and labour time.