Over the last few years, Locus Research has been a fundamental part of the Fieldays Innovations Centre, hosting the Lab and giving the participants advise and support. This year we took a step back from this role but still sent some lucky team members to check out the latest innovations in the Innovation Centre.
Surprisingly, the traffic this year was mild and so was the weather, just a classic welcoming Waikato fog.
Here the teams pick from this year:
New Zealand’s rivers and streams quality over recent history have been on the decline. RiverWatchs founder Grant Muirs witnessed this first hand in the Pahaoa River that runs around his farm in Hinakura.
Over the years, Grant and his son James tried to bring the issue of the deterioration of the river to the regional council and neighbouring farmers. Unfortunately, with no success as their concerns were dismissed due to lack of real scientific proof to back their claims. It inspired them to create the RiverWatch.
RiverWatch is the next generation of water quality monitoring. Its smart set up allows the user to easily gather critical data to measure the health of rivers, lakes and streams. This small but powerful device measures five key water health indicators (temperature, pH, conductivity, turbidity, and dissolved oxygen), which are wirelessly transmitted. It uses the latest in IoT and satellite technology to get real-time information straight to your smartphone, tablet, or laptop.
RiverWatch picked up the AWS Innovation in Data award at this years Fieldays.
Plastic can be Fantastic
Recycled plastics and fence posts aren’t two things that you would typically mention in the same sentence, but the team from FuturePost have started that conversation.
They have created an environmentally friendly fence post that is made from 100% recycled plastics, containing household plastic waste like plastic bags and milk bottles. The post’s performance and environmentally benefits far outweigh those of traditional (wooden) posts.
The future post leverages of all the properties of plastic – it won’t split, crack or rot, it is impenetrable by water, frosts, insects and fungi and has a 50+ year life expectancy – without introducing new plastics to the world.
This innovation was awarded the 2019 Fieldays Launch Award which recognises agribusiness products being launched to the New Zealand market by a small to medium size business.
The Future of Innovation
Looking to the future of innovation in New Zealand, St Paul’s Collegiate School students had a great showing with innovative ideas. One of the ideas was an aluminium divider designed to assist and train calves while feeding on a Calfateria – a multi teat feeding unit. The custom-build and designed gate attachment prevent calves from escaping while being unloaded from a calf trailer.
However, the winner of the 2019 Young Innovator of the Year award was the ‘Bobble Trough’. The ‘Bobble Trough’ is a 24/7 floating electrolysis unit, that over time releases small amounts of copper ions into the troughs water supply to prevent the growth of algae and other microorganisms. This fully automated unit links to the phone or device of a farmer via an app. The farmer is then able to monitor the copper levels in the water ensuring they are maximized to keep the water clean – a great solution to keep the water clean in animal troughs.
It is fantastic to see the future of New Zealand innovators looking so bright, with the likes of St Paul’s Collegiate School challenging their young minds to explore, innovative and create.
Like every year you easily can get lost in at the Fieldays, which in general is a good thing, as it can lead you to many surprises. We can’t wait to get back to Mystery Creek next year.