RHASS Announce 2022 Technical Innovation Award Winners
The Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland (RHASS) has announced the 2022 winners of the Technical Innovation Awards, with two Gold, five Silver and three Certificates of Commendations being awarded.
The awards, which are RHASS’ most longstanding industry accolade, showcase and reward innovation and development within the agricultural sector and are a highly respected award for manufacturers, distributers, providers and inventors.
Winners from 2020, 2021 and 2022 will be presented with their awards at a formal ceremony during this year’s Royal Highland Show, with the competition having successfully continued throughout the covid pandemic.
Gold awards are presented to previous Silver award winners for continuous outstanding merit. This year, Pollock Farm Equipment won Gold for their Pollock Rope Scraper System. The innovative drive system uses a hollow shaft drive unit, fitted with a torque spring and a micro switch for animal safety. By using a rope with 12 strands woven in a particular way it also eliminates stretch to around 40-50m/m in a rope of 100 metres length. The controller utilises the latest PLC technology, alongside inverted power from 1 phase 240v to 3 phase 415v, to eliminate troublesome single-phase motors.
Also presented with a prestigious Gold award this year is Penderfeed Livestock Equipment, for their Arrowquip Q-Catch 86 Series Squeeze Cattle Crush. The Arrowquip Q-catch 86 series squeeze cattle crush claims to be the quietest crush ever manufactured. This is achieved by using nylon bushes on the hinges and rubber absorbers on the access panel slam bolts. Heavy-duty rubber flooring provides complete silence and sure footing for the cattle, while the vet cage squeezes in with the crush, enabling you to narrow the crush before the cattle enter and preventing younger animals from turning around. The yoke gate handle can be operated from anywhere along the side of the crush, while the top and bottom access doors can be opened separately or together to make a full side exit. A hydraulic version is also available.
Merlo UK Ltd were awarded a Silver for their Merlo eWorker telescopic handler. The innovative, fully electric telescopic handler reduces environmental impact without sacrificing iconic Merlo features and ease of use. The sustainable lead acid 48-volt battery offers up to an uninterrupted eight hours of working, with a nine-hour charge time means an overnight charge will see the eWorker ready to perform again the next day. It offers a 4wd configuration as standard, whilst offering exceptional manoeuvrability with a rear axle steering angle of up to 85 degrees. The compact dimensions are ideal for those working in confined environments. A lift height of 4.80m ensures no job is out of reach, coupled with a hefty maximum lift capacity of 2,500 kgs. The familiar Merlo capacitive joystick offers the operator precise and safe operation, whilst three drive modes allow the operator to tailor output to the job in hand.
Also presented with a Silver award is New Holland Agriculture for their T6 Methane Power Tractor. Invented by CNH Industrial, the New Holland T6 Methane Power is the world’s first 100% methane powered production tractor. With comparable power output to its diesel equivalent, the T6 delivers up to 30% lower running costs and can help reduce on farm vehicle CO2 emissions. The high torque gas engine produces 99% less particulate matter, reducing CO2 emissions by ~10% when using natural gas (CNG). Overall emissions are reduced by 80%, if using farm supplied biomethane. Near-zero CO2 emissions would be possible if the gas comes from carbon negative biogas sites. Diesel replacement requires a robust platform, with high power and torque. Since the first prototype was announced in 2013, New Holland has been developing its engine and testing tractor prototypes. The T6 runs on compressed gas (or BioCNG), a ready-to-use renewable fuel that can be supplied from gas network fuelling stations and locally (off-grid) from existing or new farm biogas plants. Diesel can be replaced by BioCNG, produced by removing CO2 from biogas. It is a low carbon fuel that can be supplied on-farm by developing a network of plants on existing rural biogas sites, to speed-up diesel replacement and on-farm decarbonisation.
Soil Essentials Ltd earned a Silver award this year for their SKAi smart camera. SKAi is a re-trainable smart camera solution for agriculture. With the use of artificial intelligence, the detection and targeted spot spraying of individual weed species has now become a real and viable option. Layers of digital data are transformed in the cloud-based platform (KORE) to provide information at the plant scale, generating re-trainable artificial intelligence models and the ability to share with smart sprayer systems. Working in unison and integrating with existing GPS and sprayer systems, SKAI can be trained to recognise and map any target species for individual treatment, as opposed to blanket spraying across whole fields. The system is poised to revolutionise farming practices, vastly reduce agri-chemical usage (up to 90%), increase efficiencies, reduce costly inputs, and possesses huge environmental benefits.
A Silver was awarded this year to Stewart Agricultural Limited for their PS 22 29 H Carrot Trailer. The PS 22 29 H Carrot Trailer is designed to deliver high performance, reduce wastage and operate more safely in the field and on the road. Featuring hydraulic suspension, hydraulic-electric spool valve, electric steering, automatic lubrication, hydraulic rear door, drop-down sides, a Hardox Body and a Central Tyre Inflation system, the trailer was designed specifically for specialised growers to transport carrots with minimum breakages. Root crops are normally harvested in wet conditions; these trailers with flotation tyres operating at optimal pressure, three axles and powered steering reduce soil compaction and damage.
Opico were likewise awarded a Silver for their FarmDroid FD20. Invented by Jens and Kristian Warming of FarmDroid ApS in Vejen, Denmark, the FarmDroid is the world’s first fully automatic robot that both seeds and mechanically weeds. Solar-powered, it offers pesticide-free weed control with zero fuel bills and a zero-carbon footprint. The FarmDroid uses ultra-accurate GPS to record exactly where it places each seed. It can start the weeding process before the crop has emerged because camera recognition is not required. Capable of working within 5mm of each seedling between the rows and 20mm in the row, there is no need for hand-rogueing problem weeds, saving c. £250/ha. Weighing just 800kg, FarmDroid has the lightest footprint possible, headlands aren’t run down and so yields are maintained across the entire cropped area. Growers in Europe are reporting increases in organic sugar beet yields of 40-60% over tractor-hoed crops and are putting this down to the combination of precise seed placement and intra-row weed control, making for uniform crop development.
Earning a Certificate of Commendation this year are Calibrate Ltd for their Calibrate Analyser (CA), which is an innovative controller that has been developed specifically to help high energy use agri-businesses reduce their energy consumption costs and lower their carbon footprint. The tool, similar to a domestic ‘Hive’ system but much more sophisticated, plugs into existing energy-generating and consuming assets to provide an assessment of improved efficiencies and savings to the existing processes. The assessment then recommends eco-friendly technologies to be installed. This could include one or a mix of the following: ground or air source heat pump, solar, or a combined heat and power system. These systems can provide efficiencies up to 85%, reduce costs by up to 50%, and reduce carbon emissions year on year - all with a ROI as short as 1.2 years. Once these technologies are installed, the CA continues to identify savings on site and has the capability to incorporate other renewables and assets such as batteries, wind etc.
Cotter Agritech have also been awarded a Commendation for the Cotter Crate system. This is an innovative hardware and software solution that helps sheep farmers cut labour costs and tackle worm resistance, reducing wormer use by up to 50% and identifying worm resilient replacements. It features a sheep handling crate that makes doing stock management tasks to both lambs and adult sheep quick, easy and safe, including dosing, vaccinating, tagging, dagging, weighing, mouthing, body condition scoring, and 3-way drafting. The Cotter Crate integrates with SmartWeight, our advanced weighing and targeted selective treatment (TST) phone app that enables weight recording, treatment management, and uniquely enables farmers to conduct targeted selective worming based on an algorithm. This app can be used with the Cotter Crate, or with other sheep handling and weighing equipment already on-farm, to conduct targeted selective treatment.
A final Commendation was awarded to T,A&R Laird for their Cambwell Easy Loader. Every year, tens of thousands of sheep are artificially inseminated or flushed which requires them to be loaded into cradles. This process can be very stressful and arduous, but the Easy Loader simplifies and makes the process less labour intensive. The unique roller design makes it adaptable to any breed or size of ewe. Cost-effective, it simply attaches to a standard sheep race. Despite being blacksmith built, the crate is easy to dismantle and easy to fit into the boot of a car.
RHASS Chief Steward of Technical Innovation, Christopher Shepherd said:
“We were delighted to receive such a variety of high-quality entries this year and we’d like to extend a huge congratulations to all of our winners, who have continued to innovate despite challenging conditions.
“The focus on sustainability is clear this year, reflecting the importance those working within the agri and rural sectors place on looking for innovative solutions to reduce their environmental impact. I look forward to coming together in person to celebrate all of the winners at the awards ceremony during the Show this year.”
The Royal Highland Show, supported by the Royal Bank of Scotland, will take place 23-26th June 2022. Tickets, including for car parking, must be pre-purchased online this year and no tickets will be available to buy on the gate. Tickets are limited in number this year with sell out days anticipated, so it is advised to purchase early. The Show will be broadcast online this year via the Event Scotland/Scottish Government funded RHS TV. For further information and to purchase tickets please visit www.royalhighlandshow.org.