Simple ditch digger cuts drainage costs

A cheap and revolutionary ditch-digging machine that can help farmers throughout the world cut their drainage costs is being marketed by its inventor on a north-central Scotland farm.

The machine, which is known as the Daisy drainer, is the idea of Jim Gilchrist and his wife. Costing from $:1,700 ($2,635) to $:2,175 ($3,371), the three choices of diggers could be of invaluable assistance to third world countries trying to develop land where drainage costs are high.

The Daisy drainer, essentially a large plow that can be pulled by a small tractor, can dig and lay flexible pipe. It has been given extensive trials in the peat bog of the Perthshire countryside near the Gilchrist's farm.

The invention is easily constructed in workshops and does not need an assembly line. Also able to lay telephone cables and help with water-supply systems, the Daisy drainer has started to attract attention from developing nations.

One of the digger's most impressive features is its potential for cutting farmers' costs. Hiring an elaborate $:90,000 drainage machine costs about $:1. 60 a meter, but the Daisy drainer does the same job for 42 pence (65 cents).

Much of the credit for the Daisy drainer's development has gone to Mr. Gilchrist's wife, Daisy, who received special business training from a government-sponsored manpower-services course in Glasgow.

These short university courses are meant for people who have bright business ideas but lack expert knowledge in accounting and the marketing of inventions or services.

The Daisy D Company has just turned over $:20,000 in its first year of operations. A farmer in Angola expressed interest in the digger when he heard its inventor speak on the BBC's World Service.

The Scottish Development Agency has put a loan of $:6,000 into the drainer project. Mr. Gilchrist, who farms near the famous international Gleneagles hotel for golfers in the lower Scottish highlands, is also being backed by the Department of Agriculture.

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