Two young brothers from south west Queensland have designed and are building ute bins for the quick delivery of dry animal lick using a roto moulding machine their parents bought some years ago to make poly water tanks.
Jack and Will Jones have returned to the family's diversified business in Mitchell west of Roma with skills that fit neatly into the growing operation.
Jack, 24, came home from working as a stockman on two leading cattle stations in far north Queensland for about six years in time to take charge of Nutri-Lick, a local livestock feed supplements business bought by the family at the start of this year.
Bruce and Vicki Jones, former dairy farmers from Oakey in the Darling Downs, bought a grazing block near Mitchell about 17 years ago.
The Joneses took over Samios Trading Post about nine years ago and sell a wide range of products including clothes, footwear, gifts, guns, ammunition, saddlery and steel and rural supplies.
They also have a steel fabrication shop which is now managed by son, Will, 22, who did his boilermaker trade in Toowoomba but headed back to Mitchell as soon as he finished.
"It's unreal to be home, I haven't had a day when I wish I was back in the city," he said.
Most of Nutri-Lick's dry lick products are sold in 25kg bags which require a lot of hard yakka for customers to lug them to feed stations.
So Jack drew up some initial designs for the Ute Chute which fits on the back of a farm ute and delivers loose dry lick from either side.
Will's boilermaking skills then came into play. His parents still had a roto moulding oven they had bought some years earlier to commercially make poly water tanks.
Will built a steel mould to make the poly ute tanks which hold one tonne of dry lick (which is more accessible to stock than lick blocks).
Finely-ground poly powder is poured into the mould which is then placed in the cooking oven, heated to 270C and rotated for 40 minutes to produce the orange-coloured tanks.
He also designed a supporting steel frame for the tank so it can be forked on and off the back of the ute.
Some customers are buying 10 or 20 tonnes of dry lick at a time which adds up to a lot of bags, a lot of work and a lot of waste plastic.
The Ute Chute can be filled with a one-tonne bulk bag of lick using tractor forks at ground level and then lifted onto the back of the ute.
The Ute Chute containing any unused lick can be forked off the ute and stored out of the weather.
Jack Jones said his vision was for customers to turn up at Mitchell with a Ute Chute on the back of their ute, be quickly loaded with a tonne of lick and then drive home again.
The Ute Chutes were launched commercially about three weeks ago and are also suitable for feeding out grain.
David and Amy Owens, Somerset, Longreach, are among the first buyers and are pleased with their purchase so far.
They have just had their first child and wanted something which Amy could use to safely and quickly to feed out stock rations such as corn and faba beans.