Moisture meter wins top prize for Kildare farmer
Kildare farmer Alistair Chambers has been named Student Engineer of the Year 2013 for designing an in-cab digital moisture meter that can be used for both hay and straw bales.
A native of Moone in Co Kildare, the 34-year-old mature student runs a mixed tillage and sheep enterprise together with his parents Charles and Judy. He is now in his final year of a four-year mechanical engineering degree course at the Carlow Institute of Technology. His design idea for the winning moisture meter came to him while loading bales of straw at home in the farmyard.
The meter can be fitted to any tractor-mounted or loader-mounted bale handler with removable tines.
A sensor on the tine takes a moisture reading from insdie the bale, which is then then transmitted to a digital display in the tractor cab.
The design won first prize in the Engineers Ireland Innovative Student Engineer of the Year Awards 2013, sponsored by Siemens. The judges described the device as a simple and cost-effective way of ensuring a quality product for sale in livestock and equine markets and emerging green energy markets.
On finishing his degree, Mr Chambers intends to combine part-time farming with engineering.
"I'm a farmer by choice," he said. "I have already spent eight years on the farm full time but I now hope to move into a job in engineering."