As rainfall patterns changed near Mount Barker in WA, innovative stock farmers Dave and Lyn Slade adapted their operation to include crop growing.
Although about 50 per cent of their land is under crops today, the Slade family haven’t lost their passion for raising livestock, particularly prime beef and lamb.
The couple have farmed in the region for 40 years and have fine-tuned their operation to maximise productivity. One way David has done this is to constantly keep an eye open for advancements in farming machinery. While new equipment is readily available to improve cropping efficiency, the livestock side of the business is more labour intensive. This is where his talent for innovation has come into play.
“If I can’t find a machine that suits me I’ll build it myself,” he says. “I’m all about sheep work made easy.”
Feeding about 10,000 sheep used to take most of the day, but thanks to David’s mechanical skills it now takes only two hours using a special truck he invented that allows him to control the feeding process from behind the wheel.
David uses a purpose-built conveyor for vaccinating his sheep and he has designed a hydraulic lamb-marking trailer, which has doubled his efficiency.
His "Slade Easy Fencer", which won the new inventors section at the Newdegate Machinery Field Days agricultural show in 2015, has halved the time it takes to build fences on his property.