THE MACHINERY trade's brightest minds have been rewarded with gongs ahead of the UK's largest machinery shows, LAMMA, which takes place at the NEC in Birmingham on January 7 and 8.

The annual Innovation Awards have seen entries ranging from simple 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 the show 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.

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.

The Institute of Agricultural Engineering (IAgrE) has supported the awards for some years through judging and 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.”

The awards:

Future innovation

Gold: Skippy Scout – Drone Ag

Designed to help farmers walk crops more efficiently, this is an easy-to-use crop-monitoring app that uses drones to automatically capture images that are analysed by artificial intelligence.

Its 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.

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, this 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.

Silver: TwinPact double plunger baler – Kuhn

This high density baler uses an innovative 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 feature the Crop Drill System to sow arable crops directly on corn stubbles without any tillage on 15cm row distance. The machine keeps its features for grassland overseeding in 7.5cm 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-plus year life.

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

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.

Silver: Energy Guard – HIT Energy Services

Designed to ensure solar panels are generating as much energy as possible, this monitoring platform 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

This is a unique system to collect and store large amounts of rainwater from roofs for future use.

Traditional harvesting relies on 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.

Silver: Heated Jacket – TTI Milkwaukee Tools

Reducing the need for bulky layers in cold conditions, these 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.

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.