THERE was a huge variation in type and price for the judges to ponder for this year’s AgriScot Innovations award and it came down to one machine priced at £100,000 and an innovation costing £40 per animal.

In the end, the judges – Hugh Watson, a former Dairy Farmer of the Year; Brian Sangster, a retired machinery specialist; and Ken Fletcher, editor of The Scottish Farmer – opted for the latter, a simple and relatively quick genomic test for evaluating dairy replacement heifers.

Zoetis’ Clarifide Plus genomic test was seen as a useful tool in the selection process for heifers but not only for its guide to genetic potential for yield, but also for a trait often overlooked, ‘wellness’.

The parameters for milk quality, yield and reproduction are well known, but adding this factor in can give a positive guide to future well-being and longevity, an increasingly important factor.

The simple ear-tag like test (it is only a tissue test) can help identify genetic pre-disposition ton disorders like ketosis, displaced abomasums, retained placentas, mastitis and metritis in adult cattle, or things like calf scours and respiratory problems in calves. Its costs £39.75 per test and results can be obtained in two weeks.

Runner-up for the award was the £100,000 Pottinger Impress baler wrapper combination, which impressed the judges with its build quality and innovative new ideas built in to the design.

Another highly commended ticket was given to AHV Agri-Pharma for its integrated approach to reducing antibiotic use in cattle. It uses a unique formula within a bolus which is delivered to the rumen to strip pathogenic bacteria of their shield against the animal’s natural defences, this allowing the animal to defend itself against the cause of mastitis.

It costs £40 per bolus and this is effective for one week.