The heat is on for innovation award contestants at Agri-Trade

The Red Deer show is using a ‘Dragons’ Den’ approach to pick the winner of its Ag Innovation award

Showcasing agriculture innovations has long been one of Agri-Trade’s priorities.

But this year, it’s upping its game — and making the contenders for its Ag Innovation award do the same.

Organizers of the Red Deer ag equipment expo will give $20,000 to a company that not only has a creative product or service that benefits farmers, but can also make a convincing “Dragons’ Den”-style pitch in just five minutes.

“The top five finalists are from all different sectors of agriculture and we cannot wait to see them compete head to head at Agri-Trade,” said Innisfail-area vegetable farmer Rod Bradshaw, who chairs the awards committee.

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Audience members will not only get to watch the action but also vote for their favourite, with the winner of the “Farmer’s Choice Award” picking up $5,000. Last year, three companies received innovation awards, with each being given the opportunity to pick a charity that received $1,500.

The new show-me-what-you-got “Dragons’ Den” format will also put pressure on the judges, said Bradshaw.

“It has always been difficult to get down to three winners as we have in the past,” he said in a news release when the new format was announced in June. “The technology is diversifying every year, and the ideas keep getting better. With elevating the program this gives the top five applicants an opportunity to make the perfect pitch to a whole audience of qualified buyers.”

Here are the five finalists (in alphabetical order):

Agrirepel

Any farmer who uses bale wrap, silage covers or grain bags will tell you that birds, rodents and other pests are the No. 1 reason for loss and spoilage.

Agrirepel’s grain bags, bale wrap, and silage covers contain an additive that repels birds, rodents, and other pests.
photo: Protexia

Protexia developed a non-toxic additive that can be incorporated in plastic wrap. The resulting product, called Agrirepel, doesn’t kill birds, rodents, and raccoons but has a smell that repels them. The additive (Combirepel, which the company calls an “aversive”) is extracted from natural ingredients and essential oils and is an environmentally friendly product. Protexia (an Illinois-headquartered division of a French company) says the product can be tailored for the species you want to repel and is compatible with all kinds of thermoplastic and thermosetting polymers.

The wrap is available in Western Canada from Thunderstruck Ag (thunderstruckag.com) in Winkler, Man.

DOT Autonomous Power Platform

Imagine being able to do two jobs at once on your farm — and not having a hired hand running equipment.

DOT says its fully autonomous mobile platform is “the future of agriculture.” The Saskatchewan company (an offshoot of SeedMaster) has created a driverless multi-purpose U-shaped frame that can have a number of implements mounted on it. So far that list consists of a 30-foot air seeder, 60-foot sprayer with a 1,000-gallon tank, a 41-foot land roller and a 500-bushel grain cart (although more are in development).

Once the implement is paired with the platform, the two “become one.” A host of different sensors and a special computer program allow a farmer to generate a path plan for each field. It has sub-inch accuracy that can deal with approaches and headlands as well as avoiding sloughs, power poles and other obstacles. If DOT diverts from the the path plan, it stops.

Videos and technical info can be found at seedotrun.com.

Farmbucks

The made-in-Alberta computer app was created to give farmers the lowdown on grain prices without having to call a whole bunch of grain buyers. You don’t have to. St. Paul-area farmer Lynn Dargis wanted a site that would help her quickly identify grain pricing in her area. “I have a passion for creating and developing new ideas that will improve efficiencies and knowledge in the ag industry,” Dargis says on the Farmbucks website.

She says the app is the only one in Western Canada that groups and sorts live grain and oilseed pricing information from different buyers in one platform. It sorts through thousands of data points to collect information and allows farmers to keep track of daily market movements through a watchlist.

Users can compare live bids and price history, see current and deferred bids, and get info on futures markets. The app is free for a 30-day trial and $19.99 a month after.

HydraGEN

Toronto company dynaCert has created a way to reduce carbon emissions from diesel engines, generators and pumps with a product called HydraGEN (photo at top). It uses distilled water and “the patent-pending technology is centred around providing hydrogen-oxygen mixture generated on demand through electrolysis.” The two gases are injected near the turbo on the air intake system to create more powerful combustion, boost torque, and extend engine oil life while reducing emissions. The company says its customers have achieved fuel savings of up to 20 per cent. HydraGEN is an aftermarket unit that is lightweight, durable and has a weatherproof housing. It is sold and installed by Red M Mechanic Ltd. in Innisfail.

SIWI Combi Hitch

This Danish product allows the operator to switch between implements and trailers without getting out of the cab. It can be mounted on tractors, combines, and other equipment and allows for trailer changes in under 30 seconds. The connection itself can take as little as five seconds, including connecting and disconnecting hoses. The SIWI Combi Hitch not only saves time but makes for a safer working environment because operators don’t have to get in between equipment.

When connecting to an implement, the module is hoisted up and the hydraulic hoses are pressed together, along with the power connectors.

The hitch comes in different modules for different machines. More information can be found at siwimaskiner.dk (click on the flag icon to switch from Danish to English).

The SIWI Combi Hitch is distributed through Future Ag in Red Deer (go to futureag.ca and click on Equipment and then Short Line Brands).

The SIWI Combi Hitch allows an operator to hook up implements and trailers without getting out of the cab.
photo: Supplied

About the author

Contributor

Jill Burkhardt

Jill Burkhardt, her husband, Kelly, and their two children, own and operate a mixed farm near Gwynne, Alberta. Originally hailing from Montana, she has a degree in Range Management from Montana State University. Jill’s agricultural passions are cattle and range management but she enjoys writing and learning more about all aspects of farming.

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