Feilding farmer Bruce Coombes has knocked out a few inventions over the years - but this was the first time he's shown one of his ideas at the Fieldays Innovation Tent.

Back then he had three prototypes of The Kage - protection mechanisms to protect water trough valves and arms from being damaged, usually by stock getting rough when water supply can't keep up with demand.

Mr Coombes says he was talked into going to Fieldays, and was a but under-prepared.

Family and business supporters hurriedly knocked together some fliers and business cards - but he had no idea what to expect.


"The reaction was overwhelming," says Mr Coombes.

"What I thought was possibly a localised issue turned out to be universal amongst all types of farmers."

Since Fieldays more research and development has been undertaken to perfect and produce something the market obviously wants.

Mr Coombes says water is a farmer's most valuable resource, so any type of waste is money down the drain.

A former dairy farmer, now running dairy heifers and beef stock, he found equipment was often getting damaged by stock getting into the trough.

He says it happens for a number of reasons, and if equipment gets broken other issues arise.

"It can cause pump burnout, water is lost or stock go thirsty until the problem is identified.

And he found from Fieldays almost every farmer has issues - even sheep farmers who say often lambs will climb into a trough and drown because they can't get out.

On some properties even wind movement can cause a ballcock arm to break.

The modified version of the solution is The Avap - a cage that protects the equipment from stock damage and minimises sideways movement of the arm.

The new design also gives a lamb the chance of getting a foothold so it can climb out.

Mr Coombes says there are other products on the market, mostly made of a plastic, and he tried the lot before deciding to make his own because they weren't successful.

His is made of metal, so it is strong, and can be fitted by the farmer.

They can even be quickly transferred from one trough to another if the farmer wants to save a bit of money.

Mr Coombes has set up a company to manufacture and market The Avap - Bruco Technologies Ltd - and just last week signed off on the final design.

- To find out more or register your interest in The Avap, email brucotechnz@gmail.com