The depth and breadth of agricultural innovation rose to the surface once again at Lamma 2017. Geoff Ashcroft talks to this year’s innovation award winners.
Witham Oil and Paint won the environmental award for its Prolan environmentally protective lubricant, which is available in heavyweight greases through to super-fine sprays.
Suitable for use on metals, wood, rubber and electrical components, it uses lanolin derived from sheep’s wool, to provide long-lasting protection through hydrophobic properties to repel moisture and halt corrosion. Lanolin is also a natural non-toxic moisturiser and protector.
“We were delighted to get such recognition for this relatively new product,” said Nigel Bottom, Witham Group managing director. The versatility of Prolan makes it suitable to a wide range of on-farm uses, and with NSF approval as a food-grade lubricant, it is safe to use within dairy, vegetable processing and fishery sectors.”
“Prolan won’t wash off with a cold-water jet wash – it needs steam or a degreaser to remove, so its long-lasting credentials make it a must-have treatment for those looking to prevent corrosion.”
The Farm Machinery and Equipment Innovation Award in association with Farmers Guardian, was awarded to Ubiqutek’s Touch Pro, a professional hand weeder which uses electricity to kill weeds.
“We are absolutely thrilled to have our techhnology recognised for an award,” says Andrew Diprose, executive director of the Birmingham-based firm. “We are looking to extend the concept from a hand-weeding device to a field scale machine, so that commercial growers can take advantage of electrified weed control.”
The Touch Pro uses a 32 amp electrical feed, either from mains power or a generator, to power its probes. Touching the offending weed with the electrified probe causes near instant destruction of plant cells, with electrical current running from leaf to root to effect a systemic kill.
A first-time exhibitor at the Lamma show, Ubiqutek says it has been over-whelmed with the level of interest from growers and manufacturers. “There has been a lot on interest from organic crop producers, and also from those who are struggling to combat those weeds with a high resistance to chemicals,” he said.
Pace Mechanical Handling won the crop production award for its Orion CBC complete bag control system.
With electric motors gaining encoded measuring devices, the firm says the device offers fully automatic bag stitching with a level of repeatable accuracy which delivers 100 per cent productivity.
“We were over the moon to win an award,” said Nick Cesare, managing director of Pace Mechanical Handling. “We like Lamma’s grass roots approach to agriculture, and to win an award adds an element of prestige to us and our customers.”
The Orion CBC can handle a wide variety of paper and polypropylene sack materials to pack a broad range of products including potatoes, vegetables and animal feeds.
“Our pneumatics also use a centrifugal fan to create a vacuum, rather than relying on a more complex compressor. It is mechanically simple, yet very robust.”
Irish manufacturer Acres Machinery, based at Roscommon, won the new technology award for its Supercrop1; a three-in-one crop wilting machine which can rake, condition and ted mown grass.
“I am extremely happy that we won such an award on our first visit to Lamma,” said David Doran. “It is great to be recognised for a technological innovation.”
The trailed Supercrop1 uses a conditioning rotor to lift and aerate a swath, before placing it back on the ground. It is fed from two rake attachments which extend the working width to 6.2m, enabling the machine to gather multiple rows or a crop that has been spread.
Supplementary tedding is available, from a pair of hydraulically driven tedding rotors which can be lowered into the flow of crop leaving the machine.
“We’re looking to expand the range, and to offer the raking elements as a front-mounted attachment to suit baling contractors,” he said.
With innovation and safety in mind, Northern Engineering received the livestock equipment award for its Cow Tipper.
“We are really excited to have been given an award for our Cow Tipper,” said Joe Quinn Sr, managing director of Northern Engineering. “It boosts operator safety, cow comfort and convenience.”
The fully hydraulic roll-over cattle-squeezing side crush, incorporates a side-opening panel for vets to perform caesarean operations, offers rubber matting and padding to improve animal comfort and carries a sluice box to contain manure and preventing it from flowing beneath the animal.
Ratchet handles and chains are used to secure the animal’s legs during hoof trimming, and a mesh-style toolbox places the grinder within convenient reach of the operator.
“We have been surprised by the high level of interest that show visitors have shown in our Cow Tipper,” he said. “We’ll be coming back next year.”
Click the links below for all the latest machinery and technology developments