Q&A with Fieldays Innovation Award winner Farm Medix Ltd

Mastitis is one of the most common and costly diseases for dairy farmers in New Zealand, with many resorting to antibiotic treatment.

To address this, Farm Medix Ltd launched their innovation, Check-Up, in 2015 – a creative animal health solution that has transformed the way mastitis is treated. Check-Up is a farm-side test that enables farmers to identify up to 17 different mastitis pathogens without any special equipment.

Farm Medix Ltd took home the Launch NZ Fieldays Innovation Award and the Most Viable Business Award in 2015. Since then, Farm Medix Ltd have received many awards and farmers from all over the world have been using their products.

We got to chat with Natasha Maguire, co-director of Farm Medix Ltd, to hear her Fieldays Innovations story.

Entries for the Fieldays Innovation Awards close on 1 May. Apply now here.

What was the problem you were trying to solve with your idea?

A huge problem in the dairy industry is the sheer amount of antibiotics used in the industry with little knowledge of what was wrong with the cow. Our mission is to help farmers address what causes of mastitis to reduce cases of mastitis.

How did you come up with the idea for Check-Up?

From being on farm and hearing farmers frustrated with the cost and waste milk involved with cases of mastitis, and the lack of efficacy of the antibiotics used.

How did you feel the day you won your Innovation Award in 2015?

It was a cool day! We were pretty excited! To have validation that the judges thought our idea was good was a really fantastic feeling.

What opportunities or business growth have you received after you won your Innovation Award?

The business has changed a lot, from a small start up to a business in the process of scaling internationally. We had to go through a restructure, and I had to accept that our original skill set was insufficient to get the growth that we needed.

How would you describe your experience of exhibiting at the Innovations Hub?

Nerve wracking and exciting. The support from Fieldays was fantastic, and we were encouraged by the Events team and by others, whose ideas alongside ours were also impressive. The crowds seek out Fieldays Innovations as an area to visit for ‘new stuff,’ so it’s the prime location to get seen. The crowds were thick and fast at times, but we got heaps of exposure.

As an innovator, what do you think is the most challenging aspect of getting your innovation recognised?

Getting it seen – so Fieldays was a great launch pad for us. I couldn’t think of a better one. There’s a real focus on innovations at Fieldays compared with other shows and exhibitions we have seen – worldwide!

What advice would you give to businesses entering or thinking of entering the Innovation Awards this year?

Get your stuff together, make an effort, and unleash your ideas on the world – it’s time!

What’s next for Farmmedix?

We are focused on scale of the diagnostics (including Check-Up) we have since developed.  We are innovators at heart and this work will continue. Though, we are investing a lot of time into commercialising now, which is getting fantastic traction.

Any special Fieldays memories you’d like to share?

The breakfast meetings in the Innovations Hub were fantastic. Great speakers like Te Radar and lots of hot drinks and snacks for the chilly conditions. The crowds of people can be overwhelming, but they are excited to see what you have done. Gail Hendricks, who was in charge of Fieldays Innovations, held our hands when we were scared and made everything okay.

We are so glad we entered and for our efforts, we have one of the most coveted awards in New Zealand agriculture – a Fieldays Innovation Award!

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