What Agricultural Innovation Trends Will We See At Fieldays 2022?
In recent years, agricultural innovation has been building momentum, helping farmers, growers, and organisations across the food and fibre sector, work smarter, not harder.
A globally renowned awards programme, hungry for new ideas in the innovation space, is the Fieldays Innovation Awards. Applications for the 2022 intake officially opened today, and individuals and businesses with innovative solutions to the world’s food and fibre challenges are encouraged to apply.
Programme Developer for the New Zealand National Fieldays Society, Steve Chappell, says that the ideas nurtured through the Fieldays Innovation Awards are needed now more than ever.
“The landscape is changing rapidly, and innovators are rising to the challenge.
“Climate change, labour shortages, and how we will secure ample food and fibre for the world’s growing population are issues that continue to weigh heavily on our industry and can be answered with innovation.”
The Fieldays Innovation Awards clearly represent the innovation lifecycle in three award categories: Prototype, Early-Stage, and Growth & Scale. This range of categories allows individuals and companies, big or small, to get the support, recognition, and mentoring they require to take their innovation to the next level. Special recognition is also given to younger innovators, with an award for the Fieldays Young Innovator of the Year.
The total prize package is over $60,000 worth of cash, services, and products with tailored opportunities to progress innovations in each award category.
Managing Director (NZ/Aus) of Rezare Systems and Chief Technology Officer of Map of Ag, Andrew Cooke, is the Head Judge of the Early-Stage Award category for the 2022 Fieldays Innovation Awards. Andrew says a trend he has been observing in the agri innovation pipeline recently is a greater use of digital technology.
“We're seeing a far greater use of digital technology in new ag innovation, which opens the door to some capabilities and potential ideas that might have previously just been dreams.”
Andrew notes that while tech solutions are on the rise, farmers continue to benefit from clever, low-tech solutions that help them get value from the time they put in and address real issues on farm.
Last year’s Prototype Award winner, Springarm, did exactly this with their flexible ballcock arm for water troughs, winning the respect of farmers across the country.
Springarm have rapidly risen to success. Less than five months after Fieldays, they teamed up with Metalform, a Dannevirke manufacturing company based, to scale production and meet the overwhelming demand of their product, which farmers have deemed to be “life-saving.”
Co-founder of Springarm, Marianne Awburn, says that their experience of exhibiting in the Fieldays Innovation Hub was “nothing short of life changing.”
“Connecting with our audience and getting a chance for real-life feedback was priceless – we wouldn’t have wanted to launch our product any other way. Winning the award was the icing on the cake!”
Marianne’s words of wisdom for 2022 Fieldays Innovation Awards entrants are to ensure people can grasp what your innovation is about in five seconds or less.
“Prepare well. Make sure your signage is clear. Your innovation will be brand new, so chances are most people won't know what you’re on about, so they’ll need clear signage telling them what your product is, in less than five seconds.”
Head Judge, Andrew Cooke, also passes on his advice to those entering the awards this year:
“Ensure you understand and can communicate to the judges and your farmer audience at Fieldays.”
“Demonstrate why your innovation is unique, how farmers gain extra value from it, and how you hope to turn your invention into a successful commercial product or service.”
Entries for the Fieldays 2022 Innovation Awards are open now until 1 May 2022. Apply now at fieldays.co.nz/innovation.
Fieldays is based on a 114-hectare site at Mystery Creek 10 minutes from Hamilton and is the largest agricultural event in the Southern Hemisphere.
Fieldays draws people from around the globe – both as exhibitors and visitors. Fieldays Online, launched in 2020 as a world first during COVID-19, attracted 90,455 total visitors and viewership from more than 75 different countries. Fieldays 2021 saw 132,776 people visit the event, becoming the second biggest in the event’s 53-year history.
Fieldays is run by New Zealand National Fieldays Society, a charitable organisation founded in 1968 for the purpose of advancing the primary industries.
The New Zealand National Fieldays Society thanks their key partners Hyundai, Farmlands, Massey University, and Vodafone for their continued support.
For more information head to www.fieldays.co.nz.