The first traditional shearing handpiece that is battery operated, hangs in a small sling on a belt, and can be taken out in the yards or paddock, has hit the Australian market.

New Zealand farmer David Short, pictured, has spent four years coming up wih the right design.

This year he made the trek from the Manawatu town of Feilding to Hamilton Sheepvention in Victoria, Australia, to enter the handpiece in the inventors competition, which he subsequently won.

David said the handpiece would be ideal for cleaning up fly-struck sheep in the paddock.

He has sold 430 sets so far in NZ, mostly to large-scale, not hobby, farmers.

As a lamb trader, he said he wanted something light, quick and easy that he could take into the yards to clean up the sheep before putting the sheep on the truck.

"And I wanted to use the traditional handpiece shape, as it is the best ergonomically, better than electronic clippers," he said.

Made from steel, the tool is the first portable, low-voltage mechanical handpiece.

Short said it was a low-cost alternative to other traditional electric clippers that relied on mains power or a 12-volt battery.

The motor of the handpiece can be battery pack-operated, attached to a belt, or connected to a vehicle.