11 Sep 2015

Rural sector brimming with innovation

6:44 am on 11 September 2015

New ideas in the rural sector are booming judging by the quality of entries in the 2015 Innovators Awards, the New Zealand Innovation Council says.

Finalists in the Innovation in Agribusiness and Environment section include an electric farm bike which costs 60 cents per 100 kilometres to run, a robot that stops nitrogen leaching into soils, embedded GPS trackers in beehives to protect against theft and a robotic system to cut lamb forequarters.

Innovation Council director Andy Blackburn said the entries showed innovation in the rural sector was thriving.

"I know its been a hell of a year for the agriculture industry in New Zealand but we have been absolutely massively impressed with the agribusiness and environment entries this year," he said.

"I think sometimes when times are a little bit tougher, that's actually the impetus for innovation. I'd say the agri sector is thriving in innovation right now. Certainly from what we've seen."