EVERY YEAR, the RHASS Technical Innovation awards encourage and recognise innovation in the design and manufacture of machines, equipment and appliances which advance the effective and efficient practice of either agriculture, horticulture, equestrian, forestry, renewable energy or estate services. With a historic reputation for recognising and rewarding excellence, the awards have become an important accolade within the agriculture and rural industries.

In 2019, Kverneland Group UK won Gold for their revolutionary Kverneland 2500 i-plough. The company's Beth Fenney explained its winning product – and why more companies should consider entering the awards.

Tell us a bit more about Kverneland

“Kverneland is a leading international company developing, manufacturing and distributing agricultural machinery. Kverneland’s mission is to develop, market and support products, systems and services that give superior value to customers throughout the entire value chain. We work hard to develop products and innovations contribute positively to the contractors and farmers’ development and long-term success.”

How long have you been trading?

“The history of Kverneland Group dates back to 1879 when the founder, Ole Gabriel Kverneland, built his small forge in the village of Kverneland, 25 km outside of Stavanger, Norway. He named his business ‘O.G. Kvernelands Fabrik’ and started to manufacture scythes. The expansion in 1895 made the business a specialist factory for agricultural implements such as ploughs and harrows.

“In 2019 Kverneland celebrated its 140th anniversary – a historical milestone for the Kverneland product brand, as well as the company Kverneland Group.”

What benefits does your product bring to the industry?

“The Kverneland 2500 i-plough mounted plough range is perhaps one of the biggest innovations in farm machinery since the development of the plough itself. It is radically different to other models in a number of ways; there’s an all-new leg design (the Aero-Profile) offering lighter weight but greater strength; a new skimmer design for improved trash burial but simpler adjustment; and a swivelling depth wheel, with the option of a rubber tracked version too that sits under the plough beam, offering a longer footprint and better depth control.

“The jewel in the crown is that the ISOBUS controlled plough benefits from an electronic control system that allows almost complete set-up of the plough from the tractor seat. Its vari-width function can be managed by GPS, allowing the plough to steer itself, to maintain a straight furrow. The ISOBUS technology is utilised to make the drivers’ working day more productive while aiming for a perfectly ploughed field.

“Kverneland FURROWcontrol straightens up furrows quickly and efficiently. Once an A-B line is defined, FURROWcontrol automatically adjusts the working width by following this A-B line.”

Why did you apply for the RHASS Technical Innovation Awards?

“In recent years, Kverneland has launched more new and innovative products than ever before. The Technical Innovation Awards are a great way to acknowledge the work and commitment that goes into creating new innovative products, not only by the UK team but also by the factories that produce the products.

“Kverneland has been exhibiting at the RHS for over 30 years, so the Technical Innovation Award is a prestigious one to receive. It provides us with a platform to promote our latest innovations and show the clear benefits they provide to customers.

“Unlike many awards, the Technical Innovation Awards recognise both the new product (with the Silver award) and then the benefits to customers after three years of commercial use (with the Gold award). This allows the initial idea to be awarded first, before enabling customers to provide feedback on the product before it receives a Gold.”

Has winning made a difference to your business?

“It creates more of a buzz around the product on show days and allows us to recognise the efforts of our employees. The hope is that it creates the spread of positive word of mouth, when people see the award-winning product on the show stand and in the following press information. We also promote it on social media.”

How did you find the process of applying for Technical innovation Award?

“Very easy. Its only one form to fill in and then it’s a case of sending any additional information about the product such as videos, brochures and images for the judges to review.”

What are your plans for the future of your business?

“In the UK we plan to focus even more on precision farming and advanced technology, not only on product development but also ensuring our dealers are fully up to speed and able to pass the required knowledge onto farmers. Knowledge transfer is a concept that we have found is increasingly important and we will continue to facilitate this with our Kverneland Know How events across the country.”

Why do you think awards for innovation are important for the industry?

“Innovation awards celebrate the pioneering organisations that are still busy innovating, staying ahead, and positioning their brand for the future. The awards give exposure to some of the best advances in agricultural manufacturing and provide a platform for exhibitors to introduce ground-breaking innovations in agriculture to the market.”

What would you say to someone interested in applying for an award?

“It only takes a short amount of time to apply, so if you have a new product why not enter it and gain some recognition? A wide variety of products are awarded each year so a one-man band has just as much chance of winning as a global brand.”