The lads, all students at St. Pauls Collegiate School in Hamilton, had seen such loading struggles first-hand.
Their resulting Gate+ was an entry in the Fieldays Young Innovator of the Year competition.
Daniel Pearse, Douwe de Boer and Sanraj Dhaliwal, all aged 17 and in year 13, created a clever saloon style split gate that allows calves to be lifted and pushed into a trailer in one movement before the spring-loaded gates snap shut to secure the animals.
Unlike other gates, the Gate+ has no catches or spring bolts to unlock, ideal for farmers wearing gloves or mitts on cold mornings.
A modular centre section incorporates the spring gates and external ‘wings’ can be customised to fit any length of trailer.
The next stage of the project is to build several units and fine tune the spring rates on the gates for a more controlled closing action.
Then dairy farmers can line up to buy one.