Moving dozens of new-born calves from the paddock to the shed can be back-breaking work.

There's also the chance a bird's nest in your tractor engine could result in it catching fire.

These are just two of many farming challenges that 60 innovators and inventors at this year's National Agricultural Fieldays have tried to address.

Agribusiness student Jock Yarndley, from St Paul's Collegiate School, is promoting his invention: a bright flashing LED light designed to be placed under the bonnet of a tractor.

"It takes about 17 minutes for [a bird] to build a nest," says Yarndley.


"When the tractor is turned back on it heats up and catches alight, causing a tractor fire."

Leading rural insurer FMG receives more than 30 claims, worth over $2.6 million, for tractor fires each year.

Yarndley says his light disorientates the birds and stops them from nesting, effectively protecting a valuable piece of farm machinery.

Another student from the college has identified a gap in the market and has developed a crowbar-like tool to pull metal staples out of fence posts.

"Many fencing contracting companies have come up to us and said how they like the product and how we could develop it in the future, paint it and market it as a multi-tool," says its creator James Mitchell.

Another innovation on display at Fieldays is a stretcher-like carrying harness designed to help farmers move new-born calves around their property.

Rather than having to load them into a tractor trailer, which can be result in the smaller and younger calves being stood upon, the animals are placed into a fitted harness which protects them on the journey to the shed.

"Our concept here is we pick the calves up and put them in the saddles," says Greg Kane, from Now Innovations which developed the harness.


"They are carried all safely tied in [so] they can't get knocked over or hurt."

The device allows farmers to put 20 calves on to a trailer at one time, and means farmers no longer have to bend over to lift individual animals.

Kane says the calves enjoy being moved in this way and are comfortable in the harness.

Another innovation gaining attention at this year's show is a robotic rover called Farm Junior.

It is designed to move around the farm measuring pasture height, detect weeds and zap them with an electrical charge.

"It was made out of a wheelchair and parts from around the house," says Steve Dawson from Ag-Innovators.

Dawson says the software to drive the vehicle is still being developed but says once it can navigate around the farm it can also be used as a farm assistant, carrying medical supplies for stock.

"If you have to down a cow you can get the rover to come to you and you have all the equipment you need on the go."