December 2019 newsletter
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Christmas message from the CEO

As we near the end of 2019, I can reflect on what has been a tremendous year for Lincoln Agritech Ltd (LAL). Our company continues to flourish and grow, both in terms of company growth (with eight new staff hires) as well as  advancing scientific knowledge. We are a small company, yet we fulfill an important role in the NZ research ecosystem. Our expertise in science and engineering research for agriculture, industry and the environment is crucial to NZ’s future success.

We have had a year full of highlights including success in government research funding, start-up accomplishments and our client commissioned work winning top awards. On top of this our staff has been nationally and internationally recognised for their talents.  

LAL was awarded almost $8m in Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) funding for the braided rivers research programme. The research will provide the first accurate information about how much water is exchanged between the groundwater and surface water in braided rivers. The programme will deliver new knowledge regarding the Selwyn/Waikirikiri, Wairau and Ngaruroro rivers, along with models allowing councils to estimate groundwater surface water interactions from any part of any braided river. It will also quantify the environmental and economic benefits of different river management strategies. 

Spin-out company, CertusBio, made great progress this year. Dr Matthew Jones (CEO of CertusBio) received major recognition at evokeAG, Australia’s largest agricultural technology event held in February 2019. He won the Investment Ready category at the evokeAG Pitch Tent Competition and took home the top cash price of $20,000. Dr Jones’ winning concept is an automated water quality monitoring technology, developed by LAL and commercialised by CertusBio, which helps reduce dairy  processing waste in dairy factories.  CertusBio is currently finalising arrangements with a significant dairy company to install three instruments in their dairy factories in 2020.

This year LAL licensed to WNT Ventures technology for non-invasive moisture monitoring under roads. WNT created a new start-up company, TDRI Limited, to commercialise LAL’s patented technology on Time Domain Reflectometry (TDR) imaging. TDRI Ltd has successfully produced its first commercial working prototype of the technology which is currently being tested with roading companies.

Our company was commissioned by Bluelab to help design and prototype a handheld meter to measure moisture in potted plants, which was commercialised at the end of 2018. Bluelab is a Tauranga-based manufacturing company that develops and manufactures equipment for the global hydroponics industry. The resulting Pulse Meter
TM has gone on to win several industry awards this year including ‘Excellence in Innovation’ at the Bay of Plenty Export Awards and ‘Excellence in Innovation’ at the 2019 New Zealand International Business Awards. We are very proud of both the LAL and Bluelab teams’ efforts.

LAL continues to grow and flourish. Several of our staff members have achieved international and national level success this year. 

Dr Richard Weld and his science team were awarded funding from the MBIE Endeavour Investment Fund in 2017 to investigate the use of magnetotactic bacteria (MTB) to remove contaminants from manufacturing processes. Together with French collaborators at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) at Aix Marseille University, Dr Weld discovered a novel symbiosis between MTB and a marine Protista. These findings were published in the prestigious Nature Microbiology journal and featured in Science and French national newspaper, Le Monde.

Sophie Rebbeck was appointed to the Agritech New Zealand Executive Council. This follows her success in being elected onto the Precision Agriculture Association of New Zealand (PAANZ) committee at the end of 2018. Agritech NZ was formed to highlight sector alignment to attract funding, raise government support, and develop export opportunities for New Zealand’s agritech sector.

Two senior staff were selected to chair international conference sessions, including the Asian-Australasian Conference on Precision Agriculture in India (Dr Armin Werner) and Land Use and Water Quality Conference in Denmark (Dr Roland Stenger). Dr Roland Stenger also held an additional crucial role at the Land Use and Water Quality Conference and was a member on the Scientific Advisory Committee.

Several staff members attended key international conferences this year, including the Forbes Agritech Summit in California (Peter Barrowclough and  Professor Armin Werner) and China-New Zealand Water Research Centre events (Dr Blair Miller). Dr Blair Miller was also part of the New Zealand Agritech delegation to the United Kingdom and Ireland.

People are the heart of our organisation. To produce top quality science, we invest in the best. ‘He aha te mea nui o te ao. He tāngata, he tāngata, he tāngata’ (what is the most important thing in the world? It is people, it is people, it is people). Thanks to our clients for their continued support and we look forward to working with you again in the New Year. I would like to thank the Board for their guidance and support, and our LAL staff for their hard work, talent and dedication. 

Peter Barrowclough, CEO

Masters of Science scholarships available

The University of Canterbury has two Masters of Science (MSc) theses scholarships available. These projects are directly related to the New Zealand government-funded research programme, Grape Yield Analyser, which aims to develop a new tool to assist New Zealand’s wine industry with better grape yield forecasting. It is a dynamic multi-disciplinary project that is co-funded by the Bragato Research Institute (formerly known as New Zealand Winegrowers), led by Lincoln Agritech in partnership with Lincoln University, Plant & Food Research, University of Canterbury, as well as CSIRO.

The theses scholarships will fund two projects:: 
Project 1: Expert elicitation and incorporation of phenological modelling into grape bunch growth models.
Project 2: Posterior Passing.

These scholarships are $17,000 per annum (+ fees) and are open to New Zealand residents.

If you wish to discuss this opportunity further, please contact Elena and Daniel for more information at or 

If you wish to learn more about these opportunities, visit our careers page here.

Lincoln Agritech welcomes Patrick Durney

Patrick is an experienced hydrogeologist and modeller who has worked in both local government and private consultancy sectors.

Patrick began his career at Beca Infrastructure conducting fieldwork and site characterisation around New Zealand. He then moved to Environment Canterbury (ECan) where he worked as a Hydrologist for close to ten years, specialising in groundwater resource studies and integrated catchment modelling. From 2018-2019, Patrick worked as a Groundwater and Surface Water Modeller at the Danish Hydraulic Institute (DHI) while completing his Masters in Science degree majoring in Water Resource Management.

Patrick has been hired as Lincoln Agritech’s new Modelling Scientist and will be working on two Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) government-funded research programmes, the Critical Pathways Programme (LVLX1802) and the Braided Rivers Programme (LVLX1901).

Patrick has passion for research and is experienced in:
  • Analytical and numerical modelling of surface water and groundwater resources;
  • Integrated water resource modelling;
  • Managed aquifer recharge studies;
  • Hydrogeological site investigations.
Patrick is based at our Lincoln office and can be contacted on: 
(p): +64 3 662 9483

Lincoln Agritech welcomes Dallas Geddes

Dallas recently joined Lincoln Agritech as the Personal Assistant to Group Managers. She brings a wealth of valuable experience to the team having held similar roles in large organisations, including ChristchurchNZ, University of Canterbury and PGG Wrightson. 

Dallas will provide administrative support to senior level managers allowing them to focus their energies on leading their science and engineering programmes. 

Dallas is based at our Lincoln office and can be contacted on: 
(p): +64 3 662 9484

Lincoln Agritech welcomes Joanna Li

Joanna works in the Business Development & Marketing team assisting with IRRICADTM sales and systems and coordinating Lincoln Agritech’s marketing activities. 

Joanna has a background in marketing, specialising in public relations, event management and communications. She has a Bachelor of Arts from Shanghai International Studies University and a Master of Business (Global Management and Marketing) from Lincoln University, New Zealand.

Prior to joining Lincoln Agritech, Joanna was a Public Relations Specialist at SAIC-General Motors Ltd (SAIC-GM) in Shanghai, China. SAIC-GM is a joint venture between General Motors Company and SAIC Motors that manufactures and sells Chevrolet, Buick, and Cadillac brand automobiles in China. It is also General Motors (GM) largest international R&D facility.  

Outside of her corporate role, Joanna is a keen photographer and is a popular Chinese social media blogger/influencer.

Joanna is based at our Lincoln office and can be contacted on:
(p): +64 3 325 3704
Lincoln Agritech staff catch up with former intern, Ludovic Grosjean (from left to right): Dr Richard Weld, Andy Hayward, Ludovic Grosjean and Peter Barrowclough (Lincoln Agritech CEO). 
Ludovic Grosjean visits Lincoln Agritech

Former Lincoln Agritech intern, Ludovic Grosjean, recently gave a keynote presentation at the Rotary Regeneration New Zealand-Australian Conference in Christchurch. It was his first visit to Christchurch since his 2011 Lincoln Agritech internship.

Much has happened for Ludovic since he completed his internship. He graduated from the Institut Supérieur de L'électronique et du Numérique (ISEN) and the University of Toulon; where he gained a Bachelor of Electronics and two Masters degrees in Robotics and Physics; moved from France to Australia; and founded his company OceanX Group that provides cutting-edge technology to monitor and remove pollution from waterways. 2019 was another exciting year in which Ludovic was named as one of “Australia’s Most Innovative Engineers” by Engineers Australia; in 2018 he was awarded the title of ‘One of Six Rotary People of Action: Young Innovators under 35’ and was selected to showcase his work at the United Nations in Nairobi, Kenya.

Stopping by the Lincoln Agritech office Ludovic caught up with our staff and reflected back on what his internship taught him.

[Lincoln Agritech (LAL)]: It’s been a while since you were last in Christchurch, welcome back!
[Ludovic Grosjean (LG)]: Thank you, it’s great to be here. Coming back to Christchurch, touring the city, and visiting all the staff here brings back many memories. 

[LAL]: I heard that you completed your internship during the 2011 Christchurch earthquakes, most international students would have returned home, so what made you decide to stay?
[LG]: At 21 years old, I wanted to experience another culture and this opportunity was a fantastic way to travel to the other side of the world. I safely landed in New Zealand and only days into my internship, a massive earthquake ripped the city of Christchurch. I decided not to let this event impact my internship and successfully managed to deliver the project despite all the challenges. 

[LAL]: What type of skills and experiences did you learn that you still value to this day?
[LG]: It’s been over eight years since my internship. I initially chose Lincoln Agritech to do my university placement because of its innovative research that’s highly focussed on industrial applications and sensing technologies. Since my placement, I have focused on environmental sensing technologies and have even founded my company in this field. The skills that I learnt during my internship have been invaluable and I use them in my daily life. My experience with Lincoln Agritech taught me how to cope with problems. It also improved my knowledge of electronics, programming and mechanics. However, the strongest impact was how it changed my personal life. For the first time, I was confronted with a new culture, language and customs - this changed my perspective of the world.

In my diary, I wrote “the most important point in New Zealand is that people welcome you with a huge smile”. Despite the earthquakes and hardship, this aspect did not change. This is the reason why this country has stolen my heart forever. I find it absolutely exceptional that Lincoln Agritech employees continue to welcome me eight years later with such a memorable smile. 

Despite the exceptional travel memories of the country I think the time I shared with people at Lincoln Agritech was among the best moments of my life. For this particular reason, I decided to settle in Melbourne and not return to France. There are only a few parts of the world where you can experience such kindness, patience and the harmony of living with nature.  
I am particularly grateful to Peter Barrowclough, Ian Woodhead, Andy Hayward, Paul Riding, Ian Platt, Yvonne de Vries, Nicholas Glithero, and former staff members Yong Chew, Kenji Irie, Michael Hagedorn and Janet Rowlands for their guidance during my internship. 

If you wish to learn more about Ludovic’s company, the OceanX Group, click here
Lincoln Agritech welcomes Tess Farley 

Tess Farley has joined Lincoln Agritech’s Business Development & Marketing team as a Marketing Research Analyst. 

Tess has a marketing background and gained her Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of Otago. She previously worked in Sydney, Australia at Information Resources Incorporated (IRI). IRI is a prestigious international market research company that provides clients with retail market intelligence. Tess worked with large clients including Pepsico, Ferrero, AB World Foods, Revlon and Tetra Pak.

At Lincoln Agritech, Tess is working on developing market insights, exploring new potential markets and assisting with bid writing and proposals.

Tess is based at our Lincoln office and can be contacted on:
(p): +64 3 325 3797

Job vacancy: Post-Doctoral Modelling Scientist, Environmental Water Research 

We are seeking a Post-Doctoral Modelling Scientist to join us in Hamilton for two years (fixed-term), to primarily conduct innovative research for a government-funded research programme “Critical Pathways – Unravelling sub-catchment scale nitrogen delivery to waterways (2018-2023)”.

This programme will enable the water and nitrogen fluxes through the relatively shallow and short pathways prevailing at the sub-catchment scale to be unravelled and adequately incorporated into models.

Applications close 27th December 2019. For more information, click here.

Out and about

Lincoln Agritech staff have been busy networking over the past few months; here are some shots from activities that we have participated in.
Peter Barrowclough and Dr Armin Werner, travelled to Hanover, Germany to attend Agritechnica - the world’s largest agtech trade fair. It was an eye opener with over 2,500 exhibitors from more than 50 countries.
The team behind TDRI Limited (from left to right) Peter Barrowclough (Lincoln Agritech CEO), John Sandbrook (WNT Ventures Investment Manager), Dr Kenji Irie and Michael Hagedorn (Red Fern Solutions), and Dr Ian Platt (Lincoln Agritech Team Leader, Electromagnetics). 
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