Scots’ innovations that will take the industry forward

Some of the most recent advances in machinery and techniques, from unrolling big bales to managing manure, will be on display at the new Agri-innovation Centre at this month’s Royal Highland Show.

Nine of the innovations have been named as 2023 winners of the Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland’s (Rhass) longest standing industry accolade, the Technical Innovation Awards, sponsored by Hillhouse Group.

See also: FW Inventions Competition 2023 – Wacky and wonderful workshop creations

Gold award winners

Two previous silver award winners have won a gold award for continuous outstanding merit.

Murray Machinery’s award is for its Gravel Road Grader, used for reinstating gravel roads that have fallen into disrepair.

The grader has a series of new features added since it launched, including hydraulically operated “ripper teeth” that allow the operator to break the surface of a gravel road, and a compactor roller.

With its ability to perform four different functions and utilise stone from the existing road surface, great savings can be made on time, effort and money.

Murray Machinery's Gravel Road Grader

Murray Machinery’s Gravel Road Grader © Supplied by Rhass

For Lely (UK), its Lely Collector 120 – which vacuums up manure rather than scraping it – has earned the top award.

This machine sprays water from the front and back to improve manure intake, resulting in a cleaner floor, better grip and fewer issues with cows’ hooves.

Silver award winners

The society is presenting four silver awards this year, with one going to R Mitchell & Sons for its Whitriggs Bale Unroller.

Designed to aid the feeding of outwintered cattle, this piece of kit can handle and unroll 4ft and 5ft straw, hay and silage bales, allowing them to be unrolled safely without a need for heavy tractors and machinery.

It also eliminates poaching around ring feeders.

It has proven popular with farmers trying regenerative farming practices as it enables the reduction of inputs, helps increase soil organic matter, and spreads dung more evenly.

R Mitchell and Sons' Whitriggs Bale Unroller

R Mitchell & Sons’ Whitriggs Bale Unroller © Supplied by Rhass

Another winner is HL Hutchinson for its TerraMap.

Manufactured by SoilOptix, this uses passive gamma-ray detection technology for high-definition mapping of soil nutrition, texture, organic matter, and organic carbon to generate detailed soil maps.

Water Fuel Engineering has been awarded a silver award for HydroGen – which generates a 2:1 mixture of hydrogen and oxygen, called oxyhydrogen.

This functions as an additive to both diesel and petrol, and not only enhances the engine performance, but reduces emissions by 70-80%.

Water Fuel Engineering's HydroGen system

Water Fuel Engineering’s HydroGen © Supplied by Rhass

The ClipFitter castration and tailing system, invented by Prof Vince Molony and commercialised by Eadie Bros and Co, is also a silver winner.

Rings are banned in Scotland, but this clip-based system can be legally applied for up to three months of age, with no need for needles or drugs.

Commendations for technical innovation 

The Rhass has awarded three certificates of commendation:

  • Plantmaster Electra Power Washer, manufactured by Mac International, uses electricity instead of the more traditional diesel burner to produce continuous hot water without emissions, while also reducing maintenance costs and servicing needs
  • FEC Check allows farmers to interpret complex faecal egg count (FEC) results for targeted treatment when needed
  • SmartConnect Solar is a telemetry unit powered by a solar panel and rechargeable battery. Its multiple uses include a trailer load counter, a position sensor on a rotary rake, and a hectare counter.

Impressive standards

Rhass chief steward of technical innovation Christo Shepherd said all the award recipients set an “impressive standard for excellence” and hold the potential to shape the future of agriculture.

“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,” he said.

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