The best of Kiwi "No.8 Wire" ingenuity was recognised at the 2020 Fieldays Online Innovation Award.

Proving New Zealand really is the land of milk and honey, the awards ranged from better beekeeping, to biodynamic fertiliser to colostrum management.

Judges were buzzing about multi-award winners Hivesite. The Waikato based inventors scooped up the Grassroots Prototype Award and the James & Wells Innovation Award with their in-beehive autonomous, chemical-free, thermal treatment for Varroa mite.

Varroa infection of beehives leads to colony collapse and is a growing global problem. Pesticides impact bee productivity and should be avoided during the honey flow, plus there is a labour cost involved in their application.

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For their Grassroots Prototype Award, judges' comments were: "We were impressed by the use of technology to enable an efficient and innovative and self-contained system that uses heat to kill Varroa without the need of chemicals.

Judges were impressed by Hivesite's use of technology to enable an efficient and innovative and self-contained system that uses heat to kill Varroa. Photo / Supplied
Judges were impressed by Hivesite's use of technology to enable an efficient and innovative and self-contained system that uses heat to kill Varroa. Photo / Supplied

"The product has been proven in field trials and we liked the sensible decisions related to essential and non-essential functionality and add-ons that will increase the likelihood of a successful commercial product."

Regarding their James & Wells Innovation Award win, judge and patent attorney at James & Wells, Jason Tuck said: "As well as providing a non-chemical approach to addressing the Varroa mite problem, a critical issue for apiarists both home and abroad, I was impressed by the potential for added-value through applications enabled by the technology which extended beyond the core purpose.

"Hivesite also demonstrated an awareness of the IP in their offering and the need to secure ownership as part of their business strategy."

The Established Prototype Winners, Agrisea, impressed the judges with their innovation BioactiveN. The Bioactive formulation reduces urinary nitrogen and increases animal performance.

Currently farmers have a lack of tools to meet the ever-changing environmental requirements and meet consumers' demands.

The product helps Kiwi farmers reduce their urinary nitrogen while increasing their animal health and performance. The innovation incorporates both marine and terrestrial plants high bioactive contents.

"This innovation addresses the reduction in nitrogen related pollution in a novel way by utilising a feed additive that enhances the ability of a cow to metabolise nitrogen ingested, such that more is used and up to 18 per cent less is present in the animal's urine.

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"The judges see this as a valuable addition to agricultural nitrogen control."

Winners of the Innovation Launch Award, Antahi Innovations Ltd, wowed the judges with their Trusti Colostrum Management System. The practical system is used for testing, storing, feeding and pasteurisation.

The kit's Trusti Colostrum bags and accessories allow for chilling colostrum to maintain quality, to easily transport colostrum to calves and hygienically feed directly from the bag.

The bags can be used alone or in conjunction with the Trusti Pasteur colostrum paste riser.

This eliminates harmful pathogens that cause diseases like Mycoplasma, Johnes and also minimises contaminant bacteria, so the calf can absorb more of the critical colostrum antibodies.

The Trusti Pasteur also enables rapid thawing and warming of colostrum within colostrum bags, to ensure there are no delays with providing the highest quality colostrum within the critical timeframe after birth.

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Judges noted that the product was a well-thought-out system. "Each component is clever in its own right, but together make a compelling solution. Trusti Colostrum addresses animal health and welfare needs and helps to set calves up well for life.

"It offers an exciting commercial opportunity worldwide for this NZ-based business."

Waikato veterinarian and chief innovator at Antahi, Ursula Haywood, was thrilled to win the award.

"It is exciting to see our new colostrum management system adopted so quickly by our progressive farmers here in NZ.

"We look forward to helping many more farmers manage their crucial gold colostrum for their future herd. The Fieldays Innovation Awards will not only help spread the good word domestically but also strengthen our exports."

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The Fieldays Innovation platform provides an excellent opportunity for innovation, for big and small companies to get support, recognition, insight, and commercial expertise to grow and move to the next level.

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Other notable award winners:

• Innovation Launch Award Runner-Up
SurePhos, an effective, sustainable phosphate that reduces phosphate loss by up to 75 per cent compared to superphosphate.
By Ballance Agri-Nutrients

• Innovation Prototype Award - Highly Commended
'MSEVEN', a remote-controlled, fully electric rover measuring yield and dry matter.
By AgResearch

Vodafone Digital Innovation Award
•Winner: 'Waterwatch Live', a remote sensing water management system that harnesses AI.
By Tussock Innovation

Callaghan Innovation Partnership and Collaboration Award
• Winner: 'Lateral', a safe, effective biological pesticide for the control of caterpillars in various crops.
By Ecolibrium Biologicals Ltd

Amazon Web Services Innovation in Data Award
• Winner: Fleetpin Rollover Safety System, a rollover warning and critical alerting system designed for quad bikes, side-by-sides, and other farm vehicles to determine the orientation of a quad bike or vehicle in 3D space and sends an SOS.
By Fleetpin Ltd

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Innovation International Award
• Winner: MagGrow, a patented, proprietary technology that significantly reduces waste associated with conventional pesticide applications.
By MagGrow
• Runner up: 'Evanza', a fast, reliable and efficient milking cluster providing increased milk flow, better udder health and minimal service.
By DeLaval

Young Inventor of the Year Award
• Winner: 'Flashflow', an LED turbine powered water flow detector.
St Paul's Collegiate School
James Barker, Thomas Glenn, William Cowan, and Curtly Harper

• Runner-up: 'Sheep Stencil', A two-layered sheep stencil that aims to encourage sheep into holding pens and up races. It encourages unwilling sheep, through visual communication to move into areas where they are often resistant to go.
Kate Cregoe

• Runner-up: 'Ewe-nique Recognition', an app that uses facial recognition technology to identify and record vital information about sheep.
St Paul's Collegiate School
Molly Nelson, Ellis Watson, Libby Deadman, Lucy Fullerton-Smith