Ag student’s self-designed aerater wins big plaudits

Despite only being in the second year of his agricultural engineering degree, Co. Antrim student David Kelso has already designed and built a 6.5m trailed aeration machine, which has won the praise of scholarship boards.

The machine is operational but still requires a few additions to make it roadworthy. Once it can be transported on the roads, David hopes to hire its services out to local farmers back home in Northern Ireland.

The 20-year-old Harper Adams student’s idea impressed bursary panels so much they have offered David not one but two scholarships – from the David Lawson Scholarship and the Douglas Bomford Trust – to make the final alterations.

David Kelso pictured with Dr. Alastair Lawson

‘Inspired by my dad’

David, who is from Portglenone, said: “In December 2016, I took on a project of designing an aerator that was capable of covering a large area of land in a short period of time.

The gap in the market was first noticed by my dad, who realised he was wasting valuable time using a hired 3m-wide mounted machine.

“Having a trailed machine means it could be pulled around corners without being lifted out; a major flaw that most other machines in the market have.”

The machine has already been tested and was in use last season on the Kelso family farm.

A passion for agriculture and engineering

However, David explained that this first machine is only the start, as he aims to build a career designing and manufacturing agricultural implements.

He said: “I’m passionate about designing and building agricultural machinery and see this project as only the start. I’ve already started planning to build a second machine, which has a significantly different design.

“I’m privileged to receive these scholarships. I’d like to thank the David Lawson Scholarship and the Douglas Bomford Trust panels for selecting me – I’m very grateful.

“These scholarships are going to allow me to finish my original project with the additions required.

They’ll also help pay for a full, licensed version of SolidWorks [a computer-aided design and engineering computer program] which I’ll require for the new design.

“I’m committed to a career in the design and manufacture of agricultural machinery and these scholarships will greatly assist me in achieving this.”