Farmers are known for their ability to give old diesel tanks many new guises in a variety of innovative ways. Mr Hannes Esterhuyse has done just that, making water troughs using rings cut from an old diesel tank.
Hannes, a sheep farmer in the South African Karoo-desert, has designed and produced many practical patents from scratch, but he also doesn’t shy away from giving objects that other people regard as rubbish a new lease on life. He has the ability to look at existing items with a fresh eye, which helps him to find clever solutions that don’t cost an arm and a leg.
He has a workshop on his farm, Sandtuin, where he spends time turning into reality all the ingenious ideas he dreams up when he “lies awake at night”.
“We lose a large percentage of our lambs to predators and drought. I realised I had to do something to diversify.” Esterhuyse says of his idea for a water trough: “It’s not an ingenious invention but it’s efficient and works well, and many farmers will be able to make use of it. The troughs are also neat and smooth when they are finished.”
He simply took an old diesel tank and cut two rings from it. The outer ring is about 300mm bigger in diameter. When he places the smaller ring inside the bigger one it forms a mould for pouring a concrete trough. He recommends mixing small stones into the cement – this makes the concrete mixture less expensive and stronger.
“The trough is cheap and very easy to make.”
He places wooden blocks in-between the rings as spacers so the gap throughout is constant. Esterhuyse also uses a square mould to make a box for the ball valve.
He fills the gap between the rings with stone and concrete, and, once dry, he has an effective trough with a wall about 90mm thick and 300mm high. It holds about 300 litres of water. Before making the trough, he packs an area with large flat stones and then lays a concrete slab on top.
“The slab is about 500mm wider than the trough so that the animals won’t damage the area around the trough when they drink,” says Esterhuyse.
He puts a plug in the bottom, like a bath plug, instead of using a horizontal outlet.
“I use a 50mm galvanised bend for the outlet. This ensures that the water runs out nice and quickly when I clean it. The water provides irrigation for my shade trees – I’ve planted quite a few on the farm.”
The ball valve – which these days can cost more than ZMW 1400 – is protected by a small lid so that the sheep won’t damage it when they’re drinking. The lid is hinged so that it’s easy to lift in order to carry out repairs or maintenance.
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