Despite market uncertainty, Lamma 2018 showed that manufacturers, large and small, continue to innovate. Richard Bradley takes a look at the winning entrants.
Picking up the overall and environmental product awards was Worcestershire-based strip-tillage drill specialist Mzuri with its Xzact precision seeding units.
Suitable to fit to its range of Pro-Til drills, the system replaces the conventional seeding coulter with one which features an electronic precision seed metering unit to deliver single seed placement down the row. This provides additional flexibility, as cereal crops can be planted in conventional drilling format in the winter, with crops such as forage maize and sunflower planted with the Xzact units in late spring.
Managing director, Martin Lole, commented: “It was a great honour to have received the award, we were all delighted.
“The one-pass precision strip-till drill was developed due to demand from German and Eastern European markets where soils have become fragile and quickly dry out. It also poses benefits to UK farmers, as maize can be drilled into stubble or grass leys.
“Winning the environmental category as well as the overall product award is a proud moment for everyone who worked on the Xzact. It has been three years in development with many metering systems tested.
“It also gives an element of confidence to our customers, especially to farmers in mainland Europe where UK innovations are viewed highly. I think this is something the whole industry should be proud of.”
The farm machinery and equipment award, in association with Farmers Guardian, was won by Keith Mount Liming’s Phieldtek soil sampler.
Designed to improve the accuracy of soil sampling for Potato Cyst Nematode (PCN), the unit can be trailed by an ATV or UTV, and takes up to 210 core samples from a hectare grid, compared to traditional 50 core samples. Samples are taken by a ground-driven wheel and sampling spike, which the firm says gives consistently spaced samples without the intensive work and fatigue of manual sampling.
Once each hectare sample has been taken, the rear stainless steel tub containing the 210 samples is emptied into labelled bags corresponding to each segment of the field. Trimble GPS is used on the ATV to ensure accurate runs and to log covered areas.
Graham Barrett, precision farming manager for the firm adds: “We were both shocked and pleased when our name was called out at the awards. We wanted to show that we are at the forefront of our game, moving technology forward, and not leaving it for another company to develop.
“It is the first time we have entered the awards, and we hope to continue developing products to be in with a chance at next year’s show.”
Mr Barrett says how the trailed system allows outputs of up to 80 hectares a day without operator fatigue, compared to 50ha intensive work previously done in a day.
UK machinery importer Halse South West was awarded the crop production equipment award for an inter-row vineyard cultivator from Ovlac.
Measuring 1.7m-wide, the Spanish-manufactured implement features two rows of angled discs, curved legs to alleviate compaction and a rear packer roller. Of particular interest to the judges was the geometry of the discs to prevent trash build up on the legs, the ability to adjust the legs’ working depth down to 350mm, as well as the implement’s headland lift function, where a hydraulic ram can be used to send the machine vertical to negotiate tight turns.
Nick Clarke, Ovlac sales manager says: “We were chuffed to have won this award being one of the smallest firms in the group.
“We see the Reptill becoming a more popular product as the UK vineyard industry is growing, with more than a million vines due to be planted this year. Due to interest in the machine we are also looking at wider working widths.”
Alltec and Keenan received the technology innovation award for its latest InTouch controller.
The controller is not only larger than the previous display, but also allows rations to be adjusted, and features wireless connection so can be placed in the loader cab or connected to an app for a secondary display.
A myriad of sensors can also be fitted to the mixing tub to monitor and detect early signs of machine wear. Improved data transfer to the Keenan’s could-based ration system is also possible thanks to the addition of Wi-Fi, 3G and 4G connections, according to the firm.
Robert Walker, Keenan CEO says: “Keenan is proud to have received this prestigious award. Our goal is to launch a new innovation every six months, and we have plans in place to see this through. We are committed to driving on-farm productivity through maximising feed efficiency with our inTouch technology.”
Wessex collected the livestock equipment innovation award for its modular round bale feeder.
The base unit comprises a round bale unroller for stock feeding, with the ability to bolt on a hydraulically driven rotor for spreading straw bales, and an elevator to feed into troughs.
Its headstock holds a set of spikes to load the machine, which also features the hydraulic motors to drive the bedder. Once lifted off the ground, the headstock automatically locks onto the machine, and mechanical interlocks transfer drive from the hydraulic motors.
Jake Browning, Wessex South East sales representative and export sales manager adds: “We are excited to have won this award, especially given the time spent getting the BFR’s modular design to market.
“As we are looking to push our products onto global markets, this award gives us recognition. And each machine will have stickers on it to show this.”