"Like a bath bomb" — except for cattle, not humans.

Limehills School pupil Jorja Gay made a "trough bomb" for her winning entry in the student section of the Southern Rural Life innovation awards at the Southern Field Days at Waimumu last week.

Jorja (12), who lives on a dairy farm, said she came up with the idea herself, which involved minerals that dairy cattle needed packed into a mould — a large Christmas bauble — and then placed in a water trough.

Jess Miller, from Clinton School, was runner-up for her carry-all wheelbarrow attachment.


The open section was won by Jared Bekhuis, with CowManager which he described as a "Fitbit" for a cow.

The ear sensors measured three stages of activity; high activity, normal activity and no activity. It also measured rumination, eating and animal temperature, giving the data needed to easily pinpoint areas of concern.

Kirby Wotherspoon was second with Halter, a "smart" cow collar that enabled farmers to shift their cows remotely from a smart device, set up virtual fencing and receive health alerts regarding the welfare of their herd.

Dave Murray shows his winning fence dropper invention. Photo / Stephen Jaquiery
Dave Murray shows his winning fence dropper invention. Photo / Stephen Jaquiery

Claire Bekhuis received a merit award for Ballance MitAgator, and Rex Affleck was commended for Podstir.

Julia and Peter Christensen, of Eco Gard, were commended for the environmental aspect of their entry.

Bill Kearon and Dave Murray were equally delighted to tie for first place in the No8 wire section.

Kearon designed and built a folding crutch that could be activated by a gravity sleeve, while Murray invented Neway droppers.

Murray, a contract fencer for about 35 years and now retired at Naseby, invented a plastic hose with cuts in it to slip on to a seven-wire fence. A fibreglass rod held it in place.


He hoped to attract some interest to get it into production. While he had done some fencing demonstrations over the years, he had never entered awards before and thought he would "give it a go".

It was on display at the field days and everyone that looked at it thought it was "brilliant", particularly its simplicity.

He had patented his invention.