LAMMA Innovation Awards celebrate pioneering machinery and equipment

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Some of the most innovative machinery and equipment likely to bring significant benefits to farming and contracting business has been recognised in the prestigious LAMMA Innovation Awards.

Entries ranged from simple but brilliant to ultra hi-tec, illustrating the imagination and flair that drives the advancement of science and technology across the agricultural manufacturing sector.

The entries were judged on a range of criteria including design innovation, practical impact, the sustainability of the product and its impact on the environment.

Visitors to LAMMA will be able to see the medal winners and talk to the companies that put them forward, thanks to the return of the popular Innovation Trail, which was introduced last year.

The judging panel was made up of experts from across the agricultural manufacturing and education sectors, led by chairman Chris Rothery.

“We were very pleased by the number of entries, one of the highest we have received, and the variety of those entries,” Mr Rothery said. “I was particularly delighted with the quality in the Future section which had 22 participants in only the second year of this category.

“I am looking forward to following the Innovation Trail at the NEC on the 7th January, visiting many stands to see the entries that we judged in November.”

The annual awards, which are supported by the Institution of Agricultural Engineers (IAgrE), are open to any company exhibiting a new product at LAMMA. Entrants compete for one gold and up to three silver medals in each of six categories.

In addition, the LAMMA Founders trophy will be awarded to the overall champion at 2pm on the first day of LAMMA in the Farming 4.0 zone.

IAgrE has supported the LAMMA Innovation Awards for many years through judging, and it also sponsors the Ivel award for the best product among the medal winners for environmental innovation.

Jane Rickson, president of IAgrE, said: “In recognition of our tractor heritage, the Ivel award was created in memory of Dan Albone, the designer of the first successful light farm tractor.

“The institution is motivated and driven by innovation. We recognise agricultural engineering can reduce the environmental footprint of farming through reducing carbon emissions and better fuel efficiency. By supporting the Innovation Awards, IAgrE can reward practical, environmentally efficient and sustainable agricultural engineering.”

LAMMA Innovation Awards 2020 – gold and silver medals

Future Innovation
Gold: Skippy Scout – Drone Ag
Designed to help farmers walk crops more efficiently, Skippy Scout is an easy-to-use crop-monitoring app that uses drones to automatically capture images that are analysed by artificial intelligence.

The phone-based app uses GPS and mapping software to fly a drone to points in a field selected by the farmer, providing accurate green area index, emerging plant counts, weed identification and insect damage.

Judges’ comments:
This innovation is a practical and cost-effective method for assessing weeds and disease levels throughout an arable crop, providing farmers with an immediate and readily accessible analysed view of each field.

Silver: I-Spray – Kuhn
KUHN’s i-Spray concept uses boom-mounted hyperspectral sensors and individual nozzle control to detect and treat individual weeds. It could offer 50-80% reduction in chemical use.

Silver: Permos Pellet Harvester – Krone UK
The world’s first mobile harvester picks up straw and presses it into top-quality, high-fibre pellets for bedding, animal feed and fuel.

Arable Innovation
Gold: RT 500 and trailed harrow – Razorback
With a cutting width of 5m, the Razorback RT 500 features three triple-blade rotors driven by a 250hp driveline to provide ample power.

Partnered by a specially developed trailed flexible tine harrow this combination is useful in arable crops, chopping and distributing straw and providing good cultural control of slugs and flushing weeds.

Judges’ comments:
The combined action of the topper and harrow is impressive in tackling crop residues and soil incorporation. The one-pass system has potential for reducing slug populations and pesticide use while promoting stale seed development.

Silver: TWINPACT double plunger baler – Kuhn
Kuhn’s extreme high density baler uses an innovative Twinpact double plunger system, whereby the bottom half hits the bale first followed by the top half, using full force on each impact and eliminating the need for an oversized driveline, flywheel or mainframe.

Silver: H2Flo Water Conservation Agent – ICL
This wetting and water conservation agent enables quick and total wetting of substrate and soil, moving water vertically and horizontally thereby reducing irrigation requirement and runoff.

Silver: Vredo Crop Drill System – JC Machinery
Vredo’s Agri Twin and Vredo Agri Air Series drills at LAMMA will feature the Crop Drill System to sow arable crops directly on corn stubbles without any tillage on 15 cm row distance. The machine keeps its features for grassland overseeding in 7.5 cm rows. Hydraulically retractable disc coulters and divertible distributors to stop seed flow enable quick conversion to the arable setting.

Livestock Innovation
Gold: Triple X Fencing System – McVeigh Parker
Triple X is a long-lasting, all-steel fencing system using quick-clip steel posts, premium wire netting and all-steel strainers. The fencing system can offer up to 50% savings over the course of its 30+ year life.

The fencing takes significantly less time to erect, cutting labour costs, and is recyclable at the end of its life.

Judges’ comments:
This durable fencing system offers value for money in relation to its life expectancy and, if needed, recyclability. Innovation can be simple – every strand could be held by the catch system. Compared to timber posts the fence system seemed to offer longevity and ease of maintenance, and compared with some metal systems there were no fiddly components to break or lose.

Silver: Intellimix – Kuhn
An electronic control system applied to a continuously variable transmission enables a relatively low-powered tractor to operate a three-auger mixer wagon, while putting less strain on tractor and wagon components.

Online Innovation
Gold: Emily Feed System
This new free app has been developed to simplify daily livestock ration calculations. The operator selects the required ration and indicates the number of animals, then the application calculates quantities.

It can be used with a wide range of mixing and feeding equipment. Users can register up to 20 different rations with 30 ingredients.

Judges’ comments:
This app offers many potential benefits, including time saving, accurate nutrition and the fact it can be used with existing systems. It is very adaptable in calculating quantities distributed and is very user friendly.

Silver: Energy Guard – HIT Energy Services
Designed to ensure solar panels are generating as much energy as possible, HIT’s  monitoring platform, Energy Guard, enables solar PV plant owners to observe the performance of their panels remotely in real time.

Diversification Innovation
Gold: Mass Store Rainwater Harvesting – JRH Water Management Ltd
Mass Store Rainwater Harvesting is a unique system to collect and store large amounts of rainwater from roofs for future use.

Traditional harvesting relies tanks holding about 1.5 months of average rainfall to help keep the water fresh. JRH supplies tanks to collect full water yields and supplies chemical to keep the water clean and storable for long periods. Ideal for spraying systems.

Judges’ comments
Rainwater harvesting is becoming more important with climate change, offering a sustainable supply of clean water that helps to reduce water bills and offers a viable alternative to mains supply for many uses around the farm.

Silver: Heated Jacket – TTI Milkwaukee Tools
Reducing the need for bulky layers in cold conditions, Milwaukee heated jackets utilise carbon fibre heating elements to generate and trap heat across core body areas.

Driven Innovation
Gold: Weed Ripper – Westermann
This walk-behind machine is designed to rip thick weeds and moss from hard surfaces without the use of chemicals or water. It is equipped with 12 braided wire brushes with adjustable height control which repeatedly attack the weeds from all angles.

Judges’ comments:
This powerful piece of equipment appears to clear thick weed growth effectively, without the need for chemical control, and has a large market with multiple customers.

Ivel Award
Vredo Crop Drill System – JC Machinery
Adding to its silver innovation award in the Arable innovation category, Vredo’s Crop Drill System received the Ivel award in recognition of its environmental contribution.

Judges’ comments:
This system reduces power required to place seed in all sorts of soil, including reseeding pasture, as the slot is cut and no cultivations are required.

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