22 June 2017
Lisa Marcroft / Customer Manager / New Zealand
The 2017 New Zealand Agricultural Fieldays saw a record 133,588 people through its gates over four days – including farmers and investors from around the world seeking the latest in New Zealand agritech innovations.
Here are just a few of the technologies on display this year at the largest showcase of agricultural technology in the Southern Hemisphere – designed to help farmers worldwide protect the environment and boost profitability.
LowNSires genetic breeding programme - CRV Ambreed
Nitrogen leaching from dairy farms is a problem for the farming industry globally. When nitrogen soaks down from urine patches into the soil, some is converted to gas or taken up by plants - but the rest slowly leaches into local waterways, causing pollution and damaging ecosystems.
Dairy herd improvement company CRV Ambreed has created the LowNSires genetic breeding programme to help farmers to reduce their environmental footprint, by raising cows that potentially excrete less nitrogen in their urine - meaning less nitrogen ending up in waterways.
Bulls bred under LowNSires have daughters who are expected to have reduced concentrations of milk urea nitrogen (MUN) – the amount of nitrogen contained as milk urea. CRV Ambreed says there’s overwhelming international evidence that if MUN is reduced, the amount of nitrogen in urine is reduced too.
The company’s projections indicate it’s possible to breed cattle that will reduce nitrogen leaching in New Zealand by 20 percent within 20 years. That could be a game changer not just for New Zealand, but for the dairy industry globally.
CRV Ambreed launched LowNSires at this year’s Fieldays.
CRV Ambreed at Fieldays
Optical Groundwater Nitrate Sensor, Lincoln Agritech
Lincoln Agritech has developed a low-cost, high-accuracy groundwater sensor for nitrogen – putting a high-end environmental monitoring tool within reach for many farmers.
Many nitrogen monitoring systems on the market today involve modelling (which is hypothetical), labour-intensive physical sampling, or the use of costly real-time sensors.
The new Optical Groundwater Nitrate Sensor is installed in a groundwater source and shoots light from one end to the other. From the intensities and frequencies of light received on the other side, the sensor calculates the nitrate content in the water.
By installing sensors in different locations, farmers can understand where nitrogen is leaching from, and act on the information straight away to reduce or intensify farming in specific areas.
Lincoln Agritech’s nitrogen sensor could have major benefits in New Zealand and internationally, including in the European Union where farmers must comply with EU Nitrates Directive rules.
The sensor is in the final stages of field testing and is due for public release in 2018.
Dr Blair Miller, Group Manager Environmental Research at Lincoln Agritech - part of the team that developed the Optical Groundwater Nitrate Sensor.
Insulated Line Post, Gallagher Animal Management
Gallagher, the New Zealand company whose founder invented the electric fence, has reinvented the electric fence post – saving farmers time and money while improving animal safety.
Launched worldwide in July 2017, Gallagher’s Insulated Line Post has significant advantages over wood or steel posts. It won’t rot or rust, and because it’s insulated, it won't short out if a wire comes off. The post has a strong, flexible fibreglass rod core, making it more robust and safer around livestock when impacted. An injection-moulded polyethylene outer surrounds the rod and protects it from UV degradation.
The post’s glass-reinforced nylon 'snap-on' clips are roughly twice as strong as most conventional wood or steel post insulator attachment systems. Farmers can place posts further apart than with conventional systems, providing significant cost savings.
The posts can be easily installed or removed with simple tools, making them ideal for semi-permanent fencing, but they’re equally suitable for permanent use and are particularly suited for waterways and farm subdivisions where low-cost fencing is important.
Mark Harris, Marketing Manager, Gallagher Animal Management, shows how the insulated line post can be installed with a hand rammer – cheaper and faster than using heavy installation equipment. Photo credit: James Rickard, Farmers Guardian.
Want to learn more? Watch a video and view photos of the latest New Zealand agritech innovations at this year’s Fieldays.