Canterbury companies make innovation finals
Three diverse Canterbury companies are finalists in IrrigationNZ’s Innovation Awards.
A water race safety video for children, a GIS database system helping farmers to meet environmental requirements and a new screen allowing the application of effluent via centre pivot irrigators surfaced ahead of other innovations.
Be Water-Race Safe was a video for school-age children developed by the Waitaki Irrigators Collective.
‘‘Irrigation races can seem inviting to children to swim in, and we want to educate them on the potential dangers while they are at primary school and before they reach an age when they might be more inclined to carry out risky behaviour,’’ said the collective’s policy manager Elizabeth Soal. Open water races are still standard in parts of Waitaki and Waimate.
So far 2000 school children across North Otago and South Canterbury had watched the video, Soal said. The collective brought in a water safety expert to talk to 400 school children about what to do if they found themselves in trouble in water.
Aqualinc gained a spot in the final for its GeoRural GIS database system. The initiative was widely used by farmers and irrigation schemes for developing and managing farm environment plans.
It was cloud-based, used GIS functions and included elevation survey data, climate, hydrology, soil and consent data and aerial photos.
‘‘The system has a lot of data which makes the process of developing a farm environment plan much easier for farmers. GIS is a great way to visualise and share data.
The system means that information is retained in one location which will be available long-term to farmers,’’ said Aqualink research and development manager John Bright.
So far most farm environment plans developed in Canterbury had used the GeoRural system. It was also being used to help manage nutrient loads in the Hurunui catchment, said Bright.
Rainer Irrigation’s Vibra screen was the third finalist. The screen allowed the separation of effluent into solids and liquid, with the liquid recycled by centre pivot irrigators to fertilise pasture.
The effluent was often used as a replacement for fertiliser but was usually applied through small travelling irrigators. Applying effluent through centre pivot irrigators allowed a larger area to be covered more consistently.
The winner of the award will be announced at the company’s annual conference in Alexandra in April.
Children from Pembroke School watch the Be WaterRace Safe video.