If you have small treatment plots or trees to plant, you can appreciate the labor-saving invention that one of the Purdue University farm crew members designed.
The simple apparatus consists of a steel arm that locks onto a shaft at the font right corner of an ATV. It runs only about a foot off the ground. The device holds a can of marking paint.
The idea is that guided by GPS, the operator can set up a field with A-B lines, then determine where either flags are to be placed for plots, or where trees are to be planted in a forestry planting operation. Hooked to a computer that controls the time when the can emits paint, the operator drives the lines and marks the spot for a flag or tree with paint.
"We can even adjust how much paint it puts out," says Nate Linder, the employee who developed the idea and constructed the tool in the shop. He works at Throckmorton Farm, and also assists at the Meigs Horticulture Farm. The two research centers, both connected to each other, are located near Romney in Tippecanoe County.
The big breakthrough was mounting GPS on the ATV, Linder says. It also is equipped with auto-steering, which consists of a unit that attaches to the hydraulic system. With auto-steering it's even easier to stay on the lines and put the paint marks in the exact spot where they need to be for either a forest planting, a replicated plot, or for whatever use you might imagine.
"It saves a lot of time and walking," Linder says. "So far it has worked well and is just one of those things that makes it easier to get a job done that used to take a lot of time and labor."