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My Deft Foot

Northland farmer turned inventor John LeGarth has put his best foot forward to develop a product that will reduce farmers' angst over their fenceposts.

Mr LeGarth and fishing skipper and business partner Marc Pawley have taken a pencil drawing on a piece of wood from a cow shed and turned it into a brilliant cure for "headache" fenceposts. They have jointly developed the LeGarth Post Foot.

It is no ordinary foot. The Le Garth Post Foot is a wedge made of super-tough injection molded plastic which, when attached to the base of a post, dramatically increases its ability to remain right where it's needed - upright and firmly in the ground.

Mr LeGarth, who farms in the rolling hill country of Tangiteroria, is convinced that the unique post foot is tough and durable and will stop posts lifting out over time.

Mr Pawley says the project to develop the foot was a collaborative effort. Auckland company True Design Plastics helped to improve the design and produced the final product. Another company, Wire Plus, made a special 90mm spiral twist nail.

"We also received financial support through Technology New Zealand, part of the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology. This enabled us to hire an engineer to verify the technical aspects of the LeGarth foot," he says.

Mr LeGarth and Mr Pawley had earlier tested the strength of the special foot using a winch, a tractor loader and some electric scales. "We tried to remove a post fitted with the LeGarth feet," Mr Pawley says. "In most cases, we needed about 1500kg of upward pull to lift the post. In fact, the feet worked so well that a large area of soil was often lifted out with the post."

Another Auckland post-driver manufacturer, Fairbrother Industries, is helping with marketing overseas, where the foot is likely to find its way onto farms, vineyards, orchards and game reserves.


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