Ag-hort robot and water quality on show at Field Days

College of Sciences Pro Vice-Chancellor Professor Ray Geor, Dr Russell Wilson and Vice-Chancellor Professor Jan Thomas.

A robot to help farmers save time was among innovations on display at the ASB Innovation Zone – launched this morning with Massey University’s display showcasing the value of the university’s expertise to industry, farmers and researchers.

The Massey display includes the new and improved Ag-Hort robot, as well as a zone for prospective students and a focus on water quality.

The Ag-Hort robot was designed to perform simple tasks to free up farmer time. It is semi-autonomous and can perform a number of tasks for different farming industries and needs, such as checking fences and crops to monitoring nutrient levels.

Way of the future

Professor Ian Yule, of Massey’s Centre for Precision Agriculture, says “While drones are useful, there are complications such as weather dependency, not being able to go beyond line of sight and payload restrictions.

“Our Ag-Hort Robot has been designed to free up a farmer’s time, it will be able to multi-task and its’ payback period is likely to be short.”

It was originally designed by Transpower and students in Massey’s School of Engineering and Advanced Technology as a tool for assessing equipment at substations to reduce response times at remote locations, but has been adapted over the last three years.

Also on show is Massey research on how to farm productively and maintain excellent water quality simultaneously. For example, nitrogen and phosphorous move much more quickly through some areas than others. This new knowledge will help environmental planners and policy-makers to develop policies and management plans for sustainable agriculture production in their regions.

Massey University’s display can be found in the ASB Innovation Zone at the Central Districts Field Days, March 16 – 18 at Manfield Park, Feilding.

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