16 Jun 2013

Robofarmer captures attention at Fieldays

7:08 pm on 16 June 2013

Inventors were given the opportunity to present their creations to investors at the National Agricultural Fieldays at Mystery Creek in Hamilton.

A dozen inventors made sales pitches to a panel of business people and investors at the Fieldays Innovation Den and got their advice and feedback.

The Innovation Den is designed to point inventors in the right direction so they can get funding to help get their ideas off the ground and into the marketplace.

Linda Bulk is a director of Droidworx, a Raglan-based company that makes flying camera-holding robots which have primarily been used by the television industry so far.

But she believes the robot, known as the Ag Monster, has great potential in agriculture, and can also be fitted with spray packs.

"Imagine being a farmer and being able to send out a robot in the morning to check up on stock, fences and other infrastructure, and that farmer has a cup of tea in his house while looking at a screen with the images taken by the robot. Imagine the data you can gather to analyse, to map the property and forecast production."

Ms Bulk says she believes that with backing the Ag Monster could make $14.5 million dollars from New Zealand's rural market alone.

Potential investors on the panel were impressed. Cheryl Reynolds, chief executive of Waikato's business development organisation Soda, said she thought the Ag Monster was at the cutting edge of technology.

Meanwhile, the Fieldays International Innovation Awards have also been announced.

Electric fence and electronics company Gallagher won the main award for a Hand Held electronic ID tag reader and tag collector. The judges said its user friendly design and smartphone-style interface simplifies the task of collecting live animal data on the farm.