There have been two gold, five silver and three certificates of commendations presented in the Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland's 2022 Technical Innovation Awards.

One of the oldest RHASS awards, these showcase and reward innovation and development within the agricultural sector and are a highly respected award for manufacturers, distributors, providers and inventors.

“We were delighted to receive such a variety of high-quality entries this year and we’d like to extend a huge congratulations to all of our winners, who have continued to innovate despite challenging conditions," commented RHASS chief steward of technical innovation, Christopher Shepherd.

“The focus on sustainability is clear this year, reflecting the importance those working within the agri and rural sectors place on looking for innovative solutions to reduce their environmental impact. I look forward to coming together in person to celebrate all of the winners at the awards ceremony during the show this year.”

Because of Covid disruption, the winners from 2020, 2021 and 2022 will be presented with their awards at a formal ceremony during next week's Royal Highland Show, with the competition having successfully continued throughout the covid pandemic.

Gold awards are presented to previous silver award winners for continuous outstanding merit and this year, Pollock Farm Equipment won it for their Pollock Rope Scraper System.

This innovative drive system uses a hollow shaft drive unit, fitted with a torque spring and a micro switch for animal safety and by using a rope with 12 strands woven in a particular way, it also eliminates stretch to around 40-50m/m in a rope of 100m length. The controller uses the latest PLC technology, alongside inverted power from 1 phase 240v to 3 phase 415v, to eliminate troublesome single-phase motors.

Also presented with Gold this year will be Penderfeed Livestock Equipment, for its Arrowquip Q-Catch 86 Series Squeeze Cattle Crush. This claims to be the quietest crush ever manufactured, thus reducing stress in the animals put through it.

This is achieved by using nylon bushes on the hinges and rubber absorbers on the access panel slam bolts. Heavy-duty rubber flooring provides complete silence and sure footing for the cattle, while the vet cage squeezes in with the crush, enabling you to narrow the crush before the cattle enter and preventing younger animals from turning around.

The yoke gate handle can be operated from anywhere along the side of the crush, while the top and bottom access doors can be opened separately, or together for a full side exit.

Merlo UK received Silver for its Merlo eWorker telescopic handler. The innovative, fully electric telescopic handler reduces environmental impact without sacrificing iconic Merlo features and ease of use.

Its sustainable lead acid 48-volt battery offers up to an uninterrupted eight hours of working, with a nine-hour charge time means an overnight charge will see the eWorker ready to perform again the next day. It offers a four-wheel-drive configuration as standard, with exceptional manoeuvrability from a rear axle steering angle of up to 85°. A lift height of 4.8m is coupled with a hefty maximum lift capacity of 2500kg.

Matching that Silver was New Holland Agriculture's T6 methane powered tractor – the world’s first 100% methane-powered production tractor. With comparable power output to its diesel equivalent, the T6 delivers up to 30% lower running costs and can help reduce on farm vehicle CO2 emissions.

The high torque gas engine produces 99% less particulate matter, reducing CO2 emissions by 10% when using natural gas (CNG). Overall emissions are reduced by 80%, if using farm supplied biomethane and near-zero CO2 emissions would be possible if the gas comes from carbon negative biogas sites.

The T6 runs on compressed gas (or BioCNG), a ready-to-use renewable fuel that can be supplied from gas network fuelling stations and locally (off-grid) from existing or new farm biogas plants. Diesel can be replaced by BioCNG, thus removing CO2 altogether.

Soil Essentials also earned Silver for its SKAi smart camera – a re-trainable smart camera solution for agriculture. Layers of digital data are transformed in the cloud-based platform (KORE) to provide information at the plant scale, generating re-trainable artificial intelligence models and the ability to share with smart sprayer systems.

Working in unison and integrating with existing GPS and sprayer systems, SKAi can be trained to recognise and map any target species for individual treatment, as opposed to blanket spraying across whole fields.

Another silver goes to Stewart Agricultural for the PS 22 29 H carrot trailer. This is designed to deliver high performance, reduce wastage and operate more safely in the field and on the road.

Featuring hydraulic suspension, hydraulic-electric spool valve, electric steering, automatic lubrication, hydraulic rear door, drop-down sides, a Hardox steel body and a central tyre inflation system, the trailer was designed specifically for specialist growers to transport carrots with minimum breakages.

Opico also received a Silver for the FarmDroid FD20. Invented by Jens and Kristian Warming, of FarmDroid, Vejen, Denmark, this is the world’s first fully automatic robot that both seeds and mechanically weeds. Solar-powered, it gives pesticide-free weed control with zero fuel bills and a zero-carbon footprint.

The FarmDroid uses ultra-accurate GPS to record exactly where it places each seed. It can start the weeding process before the crop has emerged because camera recognition is not required. Capable of working within 5mm of each seedling between the rows and 20mm in the row, there is no need for hand-roguing problem weeds, saving around £250/ha.

Three certificate of commendation's included one for Calibrate for the Calibrate Analyser (CA) – an innovative controller developed specifically to help high energy use agri-businesses reduce their energy consumption costs and lower carbon footprint.

The assessment then recommends eco-friendly technologies to be installed. This could include one or a mix of ground or air source heat pump, solar, or a combined heat and power system. These can provide efficiencies up to 85%, reduce costs by up to 50%, and reduce carbon emissions year on year – with a ROI as short as 1.2 years.

Cotter Agritech have also been commended for its crate system – an innovative hardware and software solution that helps sheep farmers cut labour costs and tackle worm resistance, reducing wormer use by up to 50% and identifying worm resilient replacements.

It features a sheep handling crate that makes doing stock management tasks to both lambs and adult sheep quick, easy and safe, including dosing, vaccinating, tagging, dagging, weighing, mouthing, body condition scoring, and three-way drafting.

The crate integrates with SmartWeight, which enables weight recording, treatment management, and uniquely enables farmers to conduct targeted selective worming based on an algorithm.

A final commendation was awarded to T, A and R Laird for the Cambwell Easy Loader. Every year, tens of thousands of sheep are artificially inseminated or flushed, however, the Easy Loader simplifies and makes the process less labour intensive.

A unique roller design makes it adaptable to any breed or size of ewe. Cost-effective, it simply attaches to a standard sheep race.