Long term Agrimaster client, Raymond Harrington, was awarded Farming Legend of the Year 2018, at Parliament House on Tuesday 16th October. There were many applicants in different farming categories; Mr Harrington was one of four nominees in the Western Australian category awards. Mr Harrington has 55 years of farming experience and throughout his career, he has developed and promoted three major innovations, which have made a wide impact, both nationally and internationally.
Mr Harrington’s farm career started in 1963, together with his father Brian and brother David, working undeveloped farmland, running 3000 sheep and 50-hectare crop. By 1973, they were running about 25,000 sheep and 1200 hectare crops. All the sheep work and shearing was done by Brian, David and Ray, and saw first-hand the difficulties they’ve faced while shearing. Soon after Ray, together with his brothers David and Douglas, developed one of their very first inventions – a crutching cradle.
“The crutching cradle was born from necessity, as it allowed David and I to crutch up to 1600 sheep per day,” said Mr Harrington.
Following the success of the crutching cradle, the brothers continued to develop two other sheep equipment inventions; jetting race and V-shape machine, which are manufactured in Australia, as well as in the United Kingdom. The equipment eliminated the need for physical handling, which in turn increased the speed of the operation, allowing farmers to run up to 4-times as many sheep per man unit.
By the late 70s, Ray and his brother David, developed a reduced-cultivation style of cropping (No-till system), to prevent erosion in farms freshly cleared land. The innovation also resulted in the establishment of Western Australian No-Tillage Farmers Association (WANTFA), in 1997.
Raymond explained, “We thought – why not make a knife-point that cultivates below the seed, sow the seed in a row and leave the inter-row intact.”
Ray started developing the Harrington Seed Destructor in 1996, which won him his recent title of Farming Legend of the Year 2018. From his thorough understanding of herbicide resistance, the invention reduces the overall need of the herbicides in farming.
Mr Harrington stated,
“I saw the impact herbicide resistance was having on the WA cropping system and I developed a method to devitalise the weed seed in the chaff fraction at harvest. This prolonged the life of the chemicals used and eventually, reduced our dependency on them.”
Testing began, when Ray teamed up with University of Western Australia herbicide resistance unit, Professor Steve Powels and Dr. Michael Walsh. Mr Harrington emphasised there is no ‘I’ in team and praised Professor Powels and Dr. Walsh highly. After thorough testing and continuous effort, the Harrington Seed Destructor is now recognised globally as a major tool to fight against herbicide resistance.
Over Mr Harrington’s 50 year farm career and through his innovations, he has been recognised and awarded in several categories for his continuous improvements and involvements in the agriculture sector. Ray’s achievements include:
1976 – V-shape machine was runner up on the ABC Inventors.
2013 – GRDC recognised and rewarded Excellence Award for 20 years of AG innovation.
2014 – Awarded the Order of Australia Medal for his service to agriculture.
2015 – Awarded the Global Edison award for the HSD for innovation in agriculture.
2017 – Overall winner of Transtasman Syngenta Growth Awards across the Sustainability profitability, community and people categories.
2018 – Finalist in the Australian Senior of the Year Award.
Ray offered some advice for other farming innovators out there, simply ‘just have a go’, and try to establish partnerships to further your product into the market.
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