There have been two Gold, four Silver and three Certificates of Commendations awarded in the Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland (RHASS) 2023 round of winners in its influential Technical Innovation Awards.

Sponsored by Hillhouse Group, this is the society’s longest-standing industry accolade and showcase, rewarding innovation and development within agriculture. This year’s technical innovations will be on display next to a new Agri Innovation Arena set aside specially for the awards winners and well worthy of a visit at the show.

The Scottish Farmer: The HydroGen system is aimed at reducing fuel consumption and emission on both petrol and diesel-engined machines. It won a silver awardThe HydroGen system is aimed at reducing fuel consumption and emission on both petrol and diesel-engined machines. It won a silver award

Gold can be given to previous Silver award winners for continuous outstanding merit and this year, Murray Machinery's Gravel Road Grader was one of those.

This grading machine has undergone major upgrades since first appearing on the market, with the addition of features such as hydraulically operated ripper teeth, a tilting frame, a compactor roller and the newest addition, bolt-on reversible Hardox edge marker boards, and road lights.

With its ability to perform four different functions and in utilising stone from existing road surfaces, great savings can be made on time, effort and money spent on maintaining gravel roads.

Also presented with a prestigious Gold award this year is Lely (UK), for the Lely Collector 120. Diverging from traditional manure scrapers, this vacuums manure, resulting in a cleaner floor and maintaining the cleanliness of cows' hooves, spraying water from the front and back of the machine, as it moves through the shed.

This results in better manure intake whilst leaving behind a wet floor, giving cattle additional grip, especially when passages can get slippy in drier months. It was awarded the RHASS Silver award three years ago and since then sales have continued to increase.

The Scottish Farmer: Solar power is the secret behind Krone's SmartConnect telemetry unit, which was CommendedSolar power is the secret behind Krone's SmartConnect telemetry unit, which was Commended

R Mitchell and Sons were awarded a Silver for the Whitriggs bale unroller. Designed to aid the feeding of outwintered cattle, this allows safe unrolling of bales without the use of heavy tractors and machinery. It also eliminates poaching and bullying at a ring feeder, ensuring cattle safety.

It can carry and unroll 4 x 5 ft bales right to the core and can be used for straw, hay or silage and is popular among farmers trying regenerative farming practices as it enables the reduction of inputs, helps increase soil organic matter and spreads dung more evenly. 

Also presented with a Silver is HL Hutchinson for TerraMap. Manufactured by SoilOptix, this uses passive gamma-ray detection technology to provide high-definition mapping of soil nutrition, texture, organic matter, and organic carbon to generate some of the most detailed soil maps in the world.

With an increase in environmental targets for farmers to consider, TerraMap delivers results that help farmers achieve their financial and environmental goals.

The Scottish Farmer: Taking a Silver award was the Whitriggs Bale Unroller from R Mitchell and SonTaking a Silver award was the Whitriggs Bale Unroller from R Mitchell and Son

A Silver also goes to the ClipFitter castration and tailing system, conceived by Professor Vince Molony and commercialised by Eadie Bros and Co. ClipFitter addresses the challenge of castrating and tailing lambs older than seven days of age.

Rings are forbidden in Scotland after that age, but clips can be legally applied up to three months, with no needles or drugs required. It immediately disables nerves, sperm cords and blood supply, almost eliminating blood supply entirely.

Also going was Water Fuel Engineering for HydroGen. This generates a gas mixture of 2:1 hydrogen to oxygen, called oxyhydrogen, which functions as an additive to conventional fuel.

It not only enhances the engine performance but reduces emissions by 70-80%. A unique trait of HydroGen is that it can be installed on both diesel and petrol engines without modification and moved between vehicles, with no impact on engines or electronics.

Earning a Certificate of Commendation wase Powerwasher Services for the Plantmaster Electra power washer, manufactured by Mac International. Traditionally, to produce hot water for a device like a power washer, a diesel burner is used. but this uses electricity to produce continuous hot water at a constant temperature controlled by a thermostat.

Because these machines don't use diesel, or kerosene, the maintenance costs and servicing needs are reduced making them economically favourable as well as being zero-emission.

Dr Lynsey Melville and Eilidh Geddes, of the Moredun Research Institute, were also awarded a Commendation for the FEC Check.

Sustainable control of roundworms is a challenge for the sheep industry, particularly with advancing drug resistance and climate change, and targeted application of effective drugs at optimal times is critical for continued production efficiency. This is achieved using faecal egg count (FEC) testing.

FEC Check assists farmers and those who don’t have access to advisors, on how to interpret complex FEC results and its use improves the sustainability of roundworm control, and reducing inappropriate chemical usage.

The final Commendation goes to Krone UK for the SmartConnect Solar, a self-sufficient telemetry unit that integrates simple machines into a digital data management system. It uses a solar panel and rechargeable battery for power, eliminating the need for an external power source.

It includes a position sensor to detect the working and transport position when mounted on a folding arm of a rotary rake. Additionally, it can record the worked area based on the implement's working width.

RHASS' chief steward of technical innovation, Christo Shepherd, said:  “Congratulations to all the winners of this year’s Technical Innovation Awards. It is fantastic to witness the incredible strides that have been made in the agricultural sector as well as the commitment to innovation and development.

"These contributions not only set an impressive standard for excellence but also hold the potential to shape the future of agriculture.

“The winners will all be on display this year next to the new Agri Innovation Arena at the Royal Highland Show so please make it a priority to visit this section to view these worthy recipients.”