Northern Irish inventor reveals his greatest equipment creations

Since he was sufficiently old to wield a welding torch, Albert O’Neill has been busy designing and constructing novel package to enhance the effectivity of his household’s dairy farm in County Tyrone, Northern Eire.

Each nook of the yard and 200-cow dairy unit is littered together with his previous initiatives, from simple-but-nifty hand instruments to elaborate tractor-mounted implements and intelligent dealing with methods.

Every of those has been designed to unravel particular issues that off-the-shelf gear fails to handle, making them excess of only a cost-saving train.

See additionally: Seasoned inventor reveals his niftiest farm creations

“I’ve by no means been taken with making copies of different machines,” says Mr O’Neill. “There’s by no means a scarcity of jobs that may be streamlined on the farm, which supplies me infinite inspiration for brand spanking new items of kit.”

As a Farm Invention Competitors common over the previous 20 years, loads of his initiatives have graced the pages of Farmers Weekly.

Some have attracted a lot curiosity that he has arrange a machinery-making sideline and began constructing them to order. These merchandise are offered by means of his Ballyheather Engineering web page on Fb.

Beneath, we take a look at the three merchandise he’s providing on the market at current, plus a number of highlights from the line-up of package that he has constructed for his personal farm.

Ballyheather Engineering merchandise in the stores

Tyreshift prong

© James Andrews


Fed up with the laborious means of lugging tyres and sidewalls onto silage clamps, Mr O’Neill got here up with an thought for automating the method.

The result’s the telehandler-mounted Tyreshift 350, which permits operators to choose up a 3.5m-long row of tyres or sidewalls and distribute them evenly over the clamp.

It slots onto pallet tines and has a hydraulically pushed chain with specifically made hyperlinks that hook the tyres and flick them onto the sheet.

It really works a bit like a big, slow-moving chainsaw, however slightly than having fixed lubrication, the chain runs in a specifically made nylon information.

Operators can drive up onto the clamp and use the software to deposit the tyres evenly or attain over the facet. Both approach, it saves a variety of backbreaking guide dealing with.

By reversing the hydraulic motor, the Tyreshift may also be used to choose up tyres.

Due to an angled “nostril” the software might be poked below the tyre and the chain will drag it again, making room for the following one to be collected.

As a result of its weight when absolutely loaded, Mr O’Neil is barely constructing a 3.5m mannequin.

Any bigger could be an excessive amount of for a typical agricultural telehandler. He does make a heavy-duty model to accommodate bigger loading shovel tines, however that is additionally 3.5m lengthy.

Ending touches embody a pair of verify chains to keep away from it sliding off the tines, and a movie holder full with securing rope. The Tyreshift prices £2,200 together with supply.

slat lifter

© James Andrews

Mixing slat lifter

The blending slat lifter is one other software for chopping down on guide graft, making it a lot simpler to entry underfloor slurry shops.

Eradicating these slats safely by hand is often a two-man job, however, one individual can do it with the lifter with out even getting their fingers soiled.

The software runs on a pair of puncture-proof wheelbarrow wheels, with a deal with at one finish and a set of turnable lifting prongs on the different.

By pulling a rope on the deal with finish, these prongs flip 90-deg, permitting them to be lowered by means of the slots within the centre of the slats.

As soon as the rope is launched, a spring causes them to return to their authentic place in order that the slat might be levered out.

Thoughtfully, Mr O’Neill has additionally included holders for 4 picket bearers, permitting the slats to be put down and picked again up once more with minimal fuss.

The software is designed to be low upkeep, with a full galvanised end and no bearings to wear down. It prices £440.

clover hopper

© James Andrews

Clover hopper

A slurry tanker and dribble bar might be an efficient software for establishing clover in a grass ley.

Usually, the seed is combined with the slurry throughout filling, but it surely’s tough to distribute it evenly all through the load.

Mr O’Neill’s reply to this conundrum was to design a small hopper that feeds seed into the slurry between the fill pipe and the gate valve in a managed method.

Seed circulate is adjusted utilizing a small faucet, permitting operators to match the output to the velocity at which the tanker is filling.

The hopper is created from clear plastic in order that it’s straightforward to see how a lot goes in and a breather pipe on the high prevents the perimeters of the tank being pulled in because it empties.

The hopper comes with its personal part of galvanised pipe, full with gaskets, so consumers can merely bolt it into the prevailing pipework.

For greatest outcomes, Mr O’Neill says there must be some moisture within the floor when the seed is utilized. Full hopper kits might be bought for £190.

Different Albert O’Neill initiatives

dribble bar

© James Andrews

8.5m dribble bar

They is perhaps commonplace now, however when Albert O’Neill constructed his dribble bar again in 2009, there weren’t that many off-the-shelf choices to select from.

His 8.5m folding setup was designed to suit his 2,000gal Abbey tanker and attaches with a neat auto-latching system.

This implies he can merely drive up with the bar loaded on the pallet tines – there are purpose-made slots for this – and it’ll click on into place.

Neat options embody a hydraulic clamp that routinely squeezes the distribution pipes to cease dribbles throughout headland turns.

Cleverly, that is plumbed into the identical circuit because the gate valve, so just one spool valve is required.

The pipes even have heavy metallic inserts within the ends, which drag throughout the bottom.

In response to Mr O’Neill this provides a few of the advantages of a trailing shoe, akin to much less leaf contamination, with out the additional weight and complexity.

There’s additionally a home-made distribution head, which makes use of an previous Simba disc to fan the slurry into every of the retailers.

That is mounted on a bit of threaded bar, permitting it to be raised and lowered to regulate the applying price.

The entire outfit was galvanised earlier than it was put to work, which means it appears virtually pretty much as good now because the day it was made. Ending touches embody a set of street lights and a stand.

Cab air suspension mechanism

© James Andrews

New Holland TM165 cab air suspension

Eager to offer his 2002 New Holland TM165 a little bit of modern-day luxurious, Mr O’Neill swapped the sprung cab suspension for a home-made air setup.

After a little bit of looking round, he discovered some airbags from a DAF lorry that had been the correct dimension for the job.

He then set about machining some brackets on the lathe in order that they might neatly bolt to the unique spring mounting factors.

The tractor got here with air brakes, so he was capable of faucet into the prevailing air tank.

Strain is managed by a easy two-way air swap within the cab and there’s a gauge to assist the driving force discover the most effective setting.

cattle handling system

© James Andrews

Cattle dealing with system

When it got here to assembling his good cattle dealing with system, Mr O’Neill determined to include some bespoke objects.

These embody a semi-circular forcing association with a intelligent three-section gate.

This folds neatly because the animals transfer across the arc, pushing them towards the race with out creating any lifeless area the place they will turn into trapped.

To cater for various sizes of beast, the lengthy race has adjustable sides which might be pushed in and pulled out manually to swimsuit.

In order that the perimeters might be locked in any place, he has original a neat locking mechanism, which consists of a hydraulic ram hooked up to an accumulator with a faucet between the 2.

When the faucet is open, oil flows between the ram and accumulator, permitting it to maneuver. However when it’s shut, the ram locks stable.

Different neat touches embody a compact, concertina-style anti-backing gate and a pit subsequent to the crush in order that foot work might be carried out with out having to bend over.