New technology solutions to on-farm problems such as water monitoring and grass measuring, may be just around the corner following last week’s successful hackathon in the Manawatu.
A group of agriculture technology experts, commonly known as ag-tech’s, were called upon during Agri Investment week to find innovative solutions to help ease farmer frustrations and improve on farm efficiency.
The winning solution was an app farmers can use to open gates and operate cameras to keep an eye on cows during calving.
Another solution enabled farmers to control water trough levels remotely.
Federated Farmers Manawatu/Rangitikei Provincial President James Stewart says it was obvious some serious thinking had gone into creating this technology.
“I was pleasantly surprised with a lot of the outcomes and especially the winning one. Everyone went further than I expected and I think there are a few ideas that are close to being ready for the market.”
Those taking part in the hackathon had the opportunity to see some of the challenges farmers face first hand with a walk around James’ farm. He says the idea was to put the ag-tech’s in farmers’ shoes, ensuring practical solutions were front of mind.
“We wanted to give them all the best possible information before they went away to come up with ideas to help farmers.
“It’s hard to solve the world’s problems in one week. But if we can have a good start at coming close to something and make farming easier, then that’s positive,” says James.
Following the farm walk, ag-tech’s spent the week at Massey University in Palmerston North creating their ideas.
“It’s really good to see the passion from both the farmers and the techies. We’re bringing two different walks of life into one room and they both have a shared drive to improve farming.”
At the end of the week, a prize giving was organised to showcase all of the solutions and James says the room was full of enthusiastic farmers.
“I was really impressed to see the number of farmers who showed up. It really shows these things can bring the people who have a passion for solutions together, to create some really neat solutions.”