Agricultural technical innovators are honoured

The Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland has announced the 2021 winners of the Technical Innovation Awards, with one gold, six silver and five certificates of commendations being awarded.

The awards, RHASS’ most longstanding industry accolade, showcase and reward innovation and development within the agricultural sector and are a highly respected award for manufacturers, distributers, providers and inventors.

This year, applicants were once again invited to enter online with judging taking place virtually. Winners will be featured as part of the Royal Highland Showcase in partnership with the Royal Bank of Scotland, with a formal award ceremony planned for the 2022 Royal Highland Show.

Gold awards are presented to previous silver award winners for continuous outstanding merit.

This year, Calibrate Inc Ltd earned gold for their Heatpump Heat/Chill 6MW System. The Heatpump Grain Drying System means users can enjoy a ‘Hands Off’ Heatpump solution. The 6mW heat pump system manages a revolutionary Grain Drying process. A bespoke controller can operate the grain dryer via a cloud-based system enabling Calibrate to monitor all aspects of the process and tariff generation meters online.

Graintek UK Ltd were awarded silver for their Baby Portable Grain Dryer. Designed to be the smallest portable grain dryer that can dry by using continuous or batch mode with the flick of a switch, uniquely it can run from a 16a single phase supply using plc and inverter technology. The design uses a single leg elevator running in continuous mode to fill and dry at the same time, cutting the cost of power and equipment required. It is a 50% full scale size of its 9 tph bigger brother.

Also earning a silver this year is Kubota UK for their M7003 Premium KVT tractor and the BV Series TIM round baler. Kubota’s TIM (Tractor Implement Management) is a cross-product and cross-manufacturer ISOBUS solution for the agricultural machinery industry, whereby the implement is able to control certain tractor functions. The TIM system enables the implement to automatically control certain functions of the tractor to optimise the quality and efficiency of the overall system. Kubota is the first manufacturer to receive the renowned AEF certification for a tractor/implement combination. The TIM system offers decisive advantages, such as reduced driver fatigue, at the same time increasing comfort and efficiency.

Massey Ferguson also impressed the judges, winning silver for their MF 8S Tractor. Built from a blank canvas using a ‘Voice of the Customer’ study, this was used this to create something completely new. Key feedback underlined the need for comfort, ease of use, value for money, excellent reliability, intuitive and convenient controls, efficiency transmitting maximum power to the ground, 100% connectivity and the ability to work with the most demanding implements. The Dyna E-Power, is the ultimate dual clutch technology, stepless shifting raising comfort, maximum power to the ground due to the mechanical conception and the best fuel efficiency in its class.

Safe Forestry by Safe Worksite also earned a silver this year for their Safe Forestry App, an app supported by a desktop system designed to show competence and compliance whilst at work in the forestry industry. The app focusses on Health and Safety, ensuring that all risk assessments and documentation such as training and maintenance of equipment is in one place and up to date. The app is based on industry best practice and customisable to the tasks undertaken. There are plans to roll this out to the agricultural industry next.

Presented with a silver award this year also was Small Robot Company for their End to End per Plant Farming. This ground-breaking multi-robot’s end-to-capabilities were demonstrated to deliver per plant weeding, which is a world first. ‘End-to-end’ means that one robot (‘Tom’) scans fields for weeds, which are processed and detected by Wilma, our artificial intelligence Advice Engine, devising a weed treatment plan. Then a second robot (‘Dick’) is activated to go to the very same spot, ID the weed, and kill it. This new model gives Per Plant precision. Each plant can be farmed individually, with minimal waste. Benefits include cutting chemicals and emissions by up to 95%, delivery of Net Zero targets, and increasing yields by up to 20 tonnes per hectare for wheat, from the current UK average of 8.5.

Smart Farmer were also presented with silver for their Smart Farmer App, a simple user-friendly cloud-based software system and mobile app specifically designed for agriculture. It records editable daily machinery safety checks, sharing machinery issues between operators on farm, logging usage hours and service notifications. Utilising a traffic light system and machinery identified with QR Codes makes it operator friendly. A built-in lone working feature allows the system to track GPS location of workers and when GPS point recognise no movement an alert sent to the farmer of a worker in possible danger.

Earning a commendation is 5|Agri for their Agri Ignite, a farm business software for farmers and agricultural consultants. The cloud-based software programme enables farmers and their consultants to make decisions based on real time data. The system is fully integrated with Xero accounting software, undertakes livestock movements for BCMS and ScotEID and records medicine compliance. Agri-Ignite was amended to provide an online IACS portal. Farmers can log in and view maps of their crops, confirm their livestock numbers, agree deductions and the various schemes that they are participating in.

Also awarded a commendation was McHale for their Orbital Bale Wrapper. It is unique in that it encompasses the proven Vertical Wrapping ring carried over from the very successful McHale Fusion but transforms it into a high speed and high end trailed wrapping machine. With the ability to pick up one bale whilst wrapping another and carry on down the field to the next bale, it offers a very fast and efficient method of bale wrapping. The rear wrapper roller automatically adjusts to meet the bale size implemented through the control box meaning that the band of film is always placed on the centre of the bale, regardless of bale size.

Another commendation was earned by SmartRural for the Smart Rural App. Their work to date has clearly shown that there is considerable value derived from the use of readily available sensors across different farm types, to generate data that helps the farmer work smarter; make their businesses more profitable & sustainable; and aid them on the road to net zero.

Spread-a-Bale were also presented with a commendation for their Spread-a-Bale balers, the HD and XL. The HD works for hard, high density round and rectangular bales and the XL for two round bales or extra long rectangular bales. Each provides real straw spreading solutions to issues emerging from the latest trend towards more ergonomically efficient high density baling machines and longer rectangular bales. Overall, the options contribute to Spread-a-Bale enabling farmers to make further reductions in spreading time and labour, and straw savings of between 30% to 50%.

Finally, UBCO Bikes UK Ltd also received a commendation for their UBCO 2×2. The UBCO Adventure 2X2 is the world’s first Electrically Powered 2wd Utility Bike built specifically with agricultural users in mind. Its unique design comprises of encased motors within both wheels powered by 3.1kW battery. It has no chain or belt to be damaged in our working environments and is a low maintenance machine. Designed and engineered in New Zealand, the machine was initially made to offer a safe, sustainable alternative to farm transport replacing more dangerous options powered by internal combustion engines.

RHASS chief steward of Technical Innovation, Christopher Shepherd said: ‘I would like to extend my congratulations to the winning entries of the Technical Innovation Awards this year. This year’s entries were exciting examples of the innovative work going on within the agri-tech industry, and especially inspiring were the number of software solutions entered this year.

‘The benefits to winning for businesses and brands are significant, providing a respected mark of quality for customers to look out for. After such a challenging year, it is heartening to see such quality entries come in once again.’

Gary McConnell, Northern England & Scotland Area sales manager for commendation recipients McHale, said: ‘We are delighted to be chosen for a Commendation for our McHale Orbital High Speed Round Bale Wrapper. It is much appreciated for such a prestigious award to recognise our efforts and innovation for this high output machine, particularly in a year when the show is unable to run as normal. We look forward to the return of the Royal Highland Show in 2022, meeting all our new and existing customers and receiving this award in person from the judges.’

For more information on the Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland visit