Video | Agriculture | Confidence | Economy | Energy | Employment | Finance | Media | Property | RBNZ | Science | SOEs | Tax | Technology | Telecoms | Tourism | Transport | Search

 

Artificial pollinator wins Fieldays Innovation award

Artificial pollinator that could boost kiwifruit orchard returns wins Fieldays Innovation award

By Fiona Rotherham

June 16 (BusinessDesk) - A pollination device that has the potential to significantly lift orchardgate returns for the kiwifruit industry has won the Launch NZ Innovation award at this year’s Fieldays.

The award, for products being launched on the market by small- to medium-sized business, is one of the most prestigious of the nine awards handed out annually at the agricultural event in Hamilton which is expected to attract 120,000 visitors this year. The winners received a $5,000 cash prize.

The idea for Pollen Smart, an artificial pollinator for kiwifruit, was devised by Opotiki orchardist David Horwood who was fed up with existing devices that didn’t do the job he wanted.

He took his concept in 2014 to Whakatane-based engineering company The Wrangler Limited, owned by Wilco and Waverley Klein-Ovink, who have previously won Fielday awards for their own inventions – the dairy cattle handling system The Wrangler that their company is named for, and the Ride Over Gate, that works like a spring-loaded cattlestop.

Pollen Smart boosts artificial pollen rates in kiwifruit orchards by repeatedly blowing pollen into the orchard’s canopy rather than just once. Horwood said it also recycles waste pollen and blows it back into the canopy.

Early trials in 2014 on the prototype model were promising but the inventors wanted another season’s worth of trials on Bay of Plenty kiwifruit orchards to be 100 percent sure of its effectiveness before taking the product to market.

Horwood said trials last year on four orchards had shown significant improvements on the size and yield of kiwifruit. Improvements on orchardgate returns varied depending on whether the owners’ had already carried out artificial pollination rather than just leaving it up to the bees themselves. On one orchard that had done a lot previously, returns were boosted by $9,000 per hectare, while another orchard that had hardly done any artificial pollination boosted returns in the trial by $40,000 per hectare, he claimed.

“It shows we haven’t been doing a very good job of pollinating our kiwifruit orchards,” he said.

Pollen Smart has been patented in New Zealand and in overseas countries and Klein-Ovink said they were now selling the device at a special discount of $12,000 for early buyers. He plans to export the product in a number of countries, selling through the same channels as its existing products.

For his part, Horwood says he doesn’t care so much about sales as having the device to boost yields in his own orchard of green and gold kiwifruit.

There were 70 entrants in the Fieldays Innovation Awards this year, with the trend being towards mobile apps and data collection software. Peter Nation, NZ National Fieldays Society chief executive, said the number of innovation entrants was growing each year.

“We don’t grow, we don’t advance, without stopping and asking the pertinent questions about where we are, how we got here, and what it will take to move forward,” he said.

(BusinessDesk)

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

Police: Counterfeit Banknotes - Businesses Urged To Be Aware

Wellington Police are asking businesses to be on the lookout for counterfeit money, after fake $50 and $100 banknotes were presented at businesses recently. While Police are making enquiries to establish the source of these banknotes, a person has been ... More>>

Frog Recruitment: Kiwi Workers Reluctant To Make Business Trips Across The Ditch Despite Trans-Tasman Bubble Opening

When the trans-Tasman travel bubble opens today, many Kiwi companies won't be rushing to buy an air ticket, reluctant to cross the ditch to do business. The latest survey conducted by leading recruitment agency, Frog Recruitment of nearly 1,000 New Zealand ... More>>

Tourism: Employers Welcome Back Working Holidaymakers

Tourism businesses gearing up for the return of Australian visitors from next week will be relieved to learn that they will also have access to an offshore pool of much-needed job candidates, Tourism Industry Aotearoa says. Tourism employers around ... More>>

Commerce Commission: Latest Broadband Report Confirms Improved Performance Of Premium Fibre Plans

The latest report from the Commerce Commission’s Measuring Broadband New Zealand programme shows that the performance of Fibre Max plans has improved substantially. This follows a collaboration between the Commission, its independent testing partner, ... More>>


Travel: Air New Zealand Celebrates Busiest Day Since COVID-19

Today is shaping up to be the biggest flying day for the airline since New Zealand closed its borders due to COVID-19. Air New Zealand General Manager Customer Leeanne Langridge says around 42,000 customers will be travelling on nearly 520 Air New Zealand ... More>>

Stats NZ: Prices For Transport And Housing Rise In March 2021 Quarter

Higher prices for transport and housing led to a 0.8 percent lift in the consumers price index in the March 2021 quarter, Stats NZ said today. Prices for getting around rose in the March quarter. Transport prices rose 3.9 percent, the biggest quarterly ... More>>

Stats NZ: New Report Shows Impact Of Demands On Land In New Zealand

A new environmental report released today by the Ministry for the Environment and Stats NZ, presents new data on New Zealand’s land cover, soil quality, and land fragmentation. The land cover data in the report, Our land 2021 , provides the most ... More>>

ALSO: