Australia is the country where the disastrous effects of climate change have become most apparent during the past year: while the northern states have been flooded by torrential rains, the southern states, and New South Wales in particular, have endured a long period of drought that has almost wiped out water resources, bringing the region’s agricultural industry to its knees. Large herds that would normally graze freely on the grassland have had to be fed and watered from tankers, requiring considerable effort and cost on the part of farmers and the Australian government, which has allocated over 400 million euros of funding to cope with the emergency.
To partially offset this situation, two ingenious young entrepreneurs, Joey Fleming and Justin O’Brien, decided to convert some old 30-tonne shipping containers into food and water “vending machines”, which they placed at livestock collection points.
The containers also serve as sunscreens, since vegetation in the area has been almost entirely dried up by the scorching temperatures, which have remained above 40°C for months. To make his idea a reality, enterprising and ingenious farmer Joey (who is also an expert welder) used the Agri Plus owned by his family’s company, lifting the containers to make the necessary modifications and transporting them to the collection points. The bottom was reinforced with a V-shaped structure that directs water and feed to the side walls, letting it fall in the right amounts into long troughs welded to the sides of the container.
The system has worked, allowing the two farmers’ herds (and those of numerous neighbours) to survive one of the most devastating dry spells ever seen in southern Australia. The containers can be periodically replenished from above with water and food, allowing the animals to help themselves, whereas previously the farmers were forced to travel hundreds of kilometres each day, laden with supplies, to feed and water their animals.
It’s not the first time that Joey Fleming has demonstrated tenacity, ingenuity and ability: thanks to the versatility of the Agri Plus and its many available accessories, Joey was able to build a new barn and even a hangar for his old Piper Comanche aircraft (planes are a vital mode of transport in these vast territories), which he personally services and maintains!