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Finding a solution at Fieldays Innovation Centre

Finding a solution at the Fieldays Innovation Centre


12 June 2008 – Embargoed until 7.30am, Thursday 12 June 2008

Finding a solution at the Fieldays Innovation Centre

Innovations judges announced the winning entries in the Fieldays Innovation Centre this morning, saying that simple and effective solutions to common farm problems were the order of the day.

The Fieldays Innovations Centre, powered by the University of Waikato, is a popular attraction at the New Zealand National Agricultural Fieldays with inventions competitions running for the entire 40 year history of the Fieldays event. The Innovations Awards are broken into two major sections: Equipment, a fiercely contested class for improvements to existing products or for equipment or software that has passed prototype stage and are now available for sale, and Inventions, with entries often coming straight from the farm or orchard that are at an early stage of development. The Invention of the Year is awarded the ‘Golden Standard’ award and Young Inventors (under 25 years of age) are also recognised.

Judges were delighted to award the 2008 Golden Standard, for invention of the year, to Murray Lopes, for ‘The Ultimate Mobile Gate Post’, a simple addition to standard gates and fencing that provides the flexibility to create pens and folding gates, creating stock drafting solutions on-farm. Mr Lopes says that he became frustrated with the gates he was using to shift stock around the farm. “I thought, ‘there has to be a better way’” he says.

The Young Inventor of the Year was awarded to Cameron Ardern for his ‘Multipurpose Feeder’. Ardern’s product caters for the changing needs of calves with a feeder that is versatile enough to feed a range of products including molasses, palm kernel, hay and meal. Innovations Centre judges commended Ardern for “a practical solution to a real problem that was designed and built with enthusiasm and practicality.”

Inventions category Merit Awards were presented to Richard Pilbrow for his ‘Automatic Gate Opener’ and Alex Taylor for his ‘Post Puller’.

In the Equipment category, the Equipment of the Year trophy was awarded to Technipharm International Ltd for the ‘See-lect A Cow Split Drafter, a drafting solution that employs speed detection technology and a split drafter to provide inline drafting, improving efficiency on the farm and reducing animal stress. Technipharm owner, Harmen Heesen, is displaying the winning product on his new sites, situated at the redeveloped Gate One entrance. A Merit Award in the Equipment category was awarded to Perkinz for their ‘Perkinz Sheepflow’.

Gallagher Animal Management Systems took away the Software Entry of the Year Award, presenting the ‘Smart TSi’, a tablet-style touch-screen rugged computer integrated with weighing and animal management software. Judges said that “the durability of the product takes animal management out of the office and back onto the farm.”

Judges agreed that solutions to identified agricultural problems are prominent in this year’s Innovation Centre entries and winners. Inventions and equipment will be on display at Fieldays’ 40th anniversary event which runs through to Saturday 14 June 2008 with gates open from 8am to 5pm daily.


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