Kiwi innovation on show at Fieldays Online

The best of Kiwi ‘No.8 Wire’ ingenuity was recognised at the 2020 Fieldays Online Innovation Awards, which were announced digitally in late July. Proving New Zealand really is the land of milk and honey, the awards ranged from better beekeeping, to biodynamic fertiliser to colostrum management.

Judges were buzzing about multi award winners Hivesite. The Waikato based inventors scooped up the Grassroots Prototype Award and the James & Wells Innovation Award with their in-beehive autonomous, chemical free, thermal treatment for Varroa mite. Varroa infection of beehives leads to colony collapse and is a growing global problem. Pesticides impact bee productivity and should be avoided during the honey flow, plus there is a labour cost involved in their application.

For their Grassroots Prototype Award, judges’ comments were: “We were impressed by the use of technology to enable an efficient and innovative and self-contained system that uses heat to kill Varroa without the need of chemicals.  The product has been proven in field trials and we liked the sensible decisions related to essential and non-essential functionality and add-ons that will increase the likelihood of a successful commercial product.”


Regarding their James & Wells Innovation Award win, Judge and Patent Attorney at James & Wells, Jason Tuck said: “As well as providing a non-chemical approach to addressing the Varroa mite problem, a critical issue for apiarists both home and abroad, I was impressed by the potential for added-value through applications enabled by the technology which extended beyond the core purpose. Hivesite also demonstrated an awareness of the IP in their offering and the need to secure ownership as part of their business strategy.”

The Established Prototype Winners, Agrisea, impressed the judges with their innovation BioactiveN. The Bioactive formulation reduces urinary nitrogen and increases animal performance. Currently farmers have a lack of tools to meet the ever-changing environmental requirements and meet consumers demands. The innovation incorporates both marine and terrestrial plants high bioactive contents.

“This innovation addresses the reduction in nitrogen related pollution in a novel way by utilizing a feed additive that enhances the ability of a cow to metabolise nitrogen ingested, such that more is used and up to 18 per cent less is present in the animal’s urine. The judges see this as a valuable addition to agricultural nitrogen control.”

Winners of the Innovation Launch Award, Antahi Innovations Ltd, wowed the judges with their Trusti Colostrum Management System. The practical system is used for testing, storing, feeding and pasteurisation. The kit’s Trusti Colostrum bags and accessories allow for chilling colostrum to maintain quality, to easily transport colostrum to calves and hygienically feed directly from the bag. The bags can be used alone or in conjunction with the Trusti Pasteur colostrum pasteuriser. This eliminates harmful pathogens that cause diseases like Mycoplasma, Johnes and also minimises contaminant bacteria, so the calf can absorb more of the critical colostrum antibodies. The Trusti Pasteur also enables rapid thawing and warming of colostrum within colostrum bags, to ensure there are no delays with providing the highest quality colostrum within the critical timeframe after birth.

Judges noted that the product was a well-thought-out system. “Each component is clever in its own right, but together make a compelling solution. Trusti Colostrum addresses animal health and welfare needs and helps to set calves up well for life.  It offers an exciting commercial opportunity worldwide for this NZ-based business.”

Waikato veterinarian and chief innovator at Antahi, Ursula Haywood was thrilled to win the award. “It is exciting to see our new colostrum management system adopted so quickly by our progressive farmers here in NZ. We look forward to helping many more farmers manage their crucial gold colostrum for their future herd. The Fieldays Innovation Awards will not only will help spread the good word domestically but also strengthen our exports.”

The Fieldays Innovation platform provides an excellent opportunity for innovation, for big and small companies to get support, recognition, insight, and commercial expertise to grow and move to the next level.

Other notable award winners and judges’ comments:

Innovation Launch Award Runner-Up

SurePhos an effective, sustainable phosphate that reduces phosphate loss by up to 75% compared to superphosphate.

By Ballance Agri-Nutrients

“This new product provides a cost-effective way for farmers to address the impact of phosphate fertilisers on NZ waterways. It reflects the result of 10 years R&D, and a substantial investment in both market research and manufacturing processes.”

Innovation Prototype Award Highly Commended

‘MSEVEN’ a remote controlled fully electric rover measuring yield and dry matter.

By AgResearch

“The judges wish to commend AgResearch on the MSEVEN, especially because of the dramatic improvement in the product since we saw its predecessor in 2019. The capabilities, size and method of operation it now provides has turned a prototype proof of concept into what we believe to be a viable product that enables it to have a real and positive impact on its target market.”

Vodafone Digital Innovation Award

Winner: ‘Waterwatch Live’ a remote sensing water management system that harnesses AI.

By Tussock Innovation

“The Waterwatch product is a great example of connecting digital innovation with the rural sector. We were impressed with its features, the products simplicity in getting up and running; design and network coverage and more excitingly; the combination of IoT, AI, augmented and reality to make life easier on the farm.”

Callaghan Innovation Partnership and Collaboration Award

Winner: ‘Lateral’ a safe, effective biological pesticide for the control of caterpillars in various crops.

By Ecolibrium Biologicals Ltd

“The judges were impressed, not just with the innovation, but with the extensive collaboration with other industry partners and regulators to develop the product.”

Amazon Web Services Innovation in Data Award

Winner: Fleetpin Rollover Safety System A rollover warning and critical alerting system designed for quad bikes, side-by-sides, and other farm vehicles to determine the orientation of a quad bike or vehicle in 3D space and sends an SOS.

By Fleetpin Ltd

“A good use of real-time streaming data and analytics being used to send alerts, that could save lives.”

Innovation International Award

Winner: MagGrow a patented, proprietary technology that significantly reduces waste associated with conventional pesticide applications.

By MagGrow

“MagGrow CEO Gary Wickham impressed the judges with strong science backing an innovative solution that reduces chemical and water usage whilst improving efficacy in spraying applications. The judges particularly appreciated the deep understanding of both science and farming applied in an innovation that can improve both environmental and commercial outcomes globally. The MagGrow team demonstrated clear understanding of both the problem to be solved and the business model to see it applied at scale. They are a worthy winner of the International Innovation Award and their solutions will bring real value to New Zealand farmers.”

Runner up: ‘Evanza a fast, reliable and efficient milking cluster providing increased milk flow, better udder health and minimal service.

By DeLaval

“The team at DeLaval impressed the judges with the innovation in their Evanza milking cluster and cartridge. This truly unique design delivers improvements to animal and farmer health with a lightweight cluster that incorporates the first ever cartridge system to enable quick liner changes. The judges welcomed the improvements in animal welfare, milking performance, and labour saving. This is a solid innovation worthy of recognition and will bring real benefits to New Zealand farmers and cows alike.”

Young Inventor of the Year Award

Winner:Flashflow’ an LED turbine powered water flow detector.

St Paul’s Collegiate School

James Barker, Thomas Glenn, William Cowan, and Curtly Harper

“The problem was well understood and the invention met the need well, with a good use of a combination of technologies.  We were impressed that a working model had been developed and tested successfully in the field.  The judges feel that with minor tweaks this could be a successful product and wish it every success.”

Runner-up: ‘Sheep Stencil’ A two-layered sheep stencil that aims to encourage sheep into holding pens and up races. It encourages unwilling sheep, through visual communication to move into areas where they are often resistant to go.

Kate Cregoe

“Something quite different to the usual entries.  This innovation utilized Kate’s artistic skillset to create an effective and efficient method of passively encouraging stock movement.  A very simple and clever idea that we think epitomizes Kiwi ingenuity and which we wish to encourage.”

Runner-up: ‘Ewe-nique Recognition’ An app that uses facial recognition technology to identify and record vital information about sheep.

St Paul’s Collegiate School

Molly Nelson, Ellis Watson, Libby Deadman, Lucy Fullerton-Smith

“A good use of external expertise to assist the inventors in creating an alternative to ear tag use as an ID tool in livestock.  The product combines the ID with a range of animal information to the farmer via a simple mobile App.  The judges would like to commend Molly on really thinking outside the box when looking for a solution to the problems related to the use of ear tags on sheep.”

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