March 2017 Newsletter
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University of Canterbury testing Lincoln Agritech microwave apparatus at Scott Base, Antarctica.

Deep South National Science Challenge

Lincoln Agritech’s Sensing Technology team has been assisting the University of Canterbury with their subcontract to the Deep South National Science Challenge.  The project, “Versatile 4D drones for observations of deep-south key earth system processes”, is led by Dr Wolfgang Rack from the University of Canterbury.   Using 4D drones to monitor cloud and snow formation, the project aims to enhance the understanding of weather systems and processes underlying climate change.

The Lincoln Agritech team has designed and built three sets of microwave instrumentation to measure snow depth over sea ice in Antarctica, ultimately from a drone. All three experiments were successful and now specifications for a proposed antenna and radar apparatus for installation on a drone have been prepared. 

This project’s overall mission is to collect data to enable more realistic simulations of regional and global climate scenarios. The collated information will be used to develop an innovative climate prediction system and create an international standard Earth Systems Model. 
The Hinds/ Hekeao Managed Aquifer Recharge Pilot Project

Groundwater in the Ashburton and Tinwald area has some of the highest concentrations of nitrates in New Zealand due to agricultural intensification, droughts and over-extraction of water. The Hinds/ Hekeao Managed Aquifer Recharge (MAR) Pilot project aims to replenish and improve the health of the aquifer and water quality by injecting alpine river water supplied by local water races. Lincoln Agritech was invited to support the Hinds MAR pilot trials by installing a prototype continuous nitrate monitoring system that can sample every hour in down-gradient local wells. 

Lincoln Agritech’s optical nitrate sensor in-field deployment is being used to monitor the displacement of high nitrate. The nitrate sensors take hourly measurements and then transmit the data back to Lincoln; a set up that is powered by solar energy. The freshwater, low nitrate plume in the aquifer spreads out comparatively rapidly once injection has commenced; quantifying the dispersion of groundwater in real time will build an accurate picture of the effectiveness of nitrate hotspot dilution by recharge schemes, demonstrating the effectiveness of the MAR technology to the community.

Jens Rekker, Lincoln Agritech’s hydrogeologist, is interviewed by Environment Canterbury and appears below in the Youtube video from 2’:30”.
The Hinds/Hekeao Managed Aquifer Recharge Pilot Project
The Hinds/ Hekeao Managed Aquifer Recharge Pilot Project

Lincoln Agritech welcomes Christopher Bateman 

Christopher obtained a Bachelor of Science with first class honours in mathematical physics from the University of Canterbury in 2011, and a PhD in medical image processing from the University of Otago in 2015. He joined Lincoln Agritech in March 2017. Prior to this he worked for MARS Bioimaging Ltd and at the Universities of Canterbury and Otago as a researcher in spectral computed tomography. His background is in applied mathematics, image processing, and software.

He has particular interests in:
  • Mathematics in high dimensional spaces.
  • Signal and image processing.
  • Software efficiency.
  • Communication in science.

Christopher is located at our Lincoln office. You can contact him on:
(p) 03 325 3714
Sustainability Dashboard implemented at Rangitata Diversion Race farms

The New Zealand Sustainability Dashboard (NZSD) project includes a suite of practical tools for sustainability assessment, auditing, reporting and learning. The online reporting tool helps clients make informed management decisions to enhance their overall sustainability performance.

The NZSD project contributes to a six year Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) funded collaborative research programme. Research partners include Lincoln University (AERU), University of Otago (CSAFE), The AgriBusiness Group, Landcare Research, Scion, Ngāi Tahu, 1000Minds, Ecosystem consultants and Lincoln Agritech Ltd. Industry partners include New Zealand Winegrowers, Zespri International and other kiwifruit partners, forestry organisations and Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu.

A recent application of the NZSD project is with Rangitata Diversion Race Management Ltd (RDRML). RDRML is involved in water distribution and compliance monitoring and helps supply water through its three irrigation schemes - Mayfield-Hinds, Valetta and Ashburton-Lyndhurst - to 450 shareholders in mid-Canterbury. Lincoln Agritech worked with RDRML to build the platform interface, back-end database and code to produce an online Farm Environment Plan (FEP) and auditing system that would comply with Canterbury Regional Council’s strict regulatory requirements.

The RDRML FEP tool incorporates land use and the management of irrigation, nutrients, soils, collected animal effluent, livestock and waterways, and biodiversity/ecosystems. It provides a system for farmers to assess actual and potential environmental effects and how those effects and risks can be managed. The system is easy to use and provides a framework for best management practice. Farmers can track their progress and assess their farm systems before it undergoes an independent audit.

The RDRML online tool is being implemented across all the RDRML shareholder farms in the mid-Canterbury region and has potential to be adopted by other irrigation schemes as well as agricultural and horticultural industries.

For more information, visit The NZSD’s website:

Lincoln Agritech welcomes Parag Dhake

Parag joined Lincoln Agritech in early 2017. He has extensive experience in academic laboratory settings and over the last 16 years has worked at the National Chemical Laboratory in Pune, India; University of Maine in Orono, USA; and at the University of Otago’s Chemistry Department in Dunedin, New Zealand.  Parag has in-depth knowledge in various fields of chemistry, including organic synthesis, carbohydrate chemistry, catalysis, surface science, and supramolecular chemistry. He is particularly interested in organic synthesis and characterisation and chemical modification of biomaterials.

Parag is located at Lincoln Agritech’s Lincoln office. You can contact him on:
(p) 03 325 3739
Dr Kim Eccleston attends the 2016 Asia-Pacific Microwave Conference

Dr Eccleston attended the 2016 Asia-Pacific Microwave Conference (APMC2016), which was held in New Delhi, India, from 5th to 9th of December 2016.  APMC is considered the most prestigious conference for the microwave community in the Asia-Pacific region and typically attracts around 700 delegates from all over the world.  It is held annually and hosted by member countries in the Asia-Pacific region.  

Eccleston presented a paper on research conducted by Dr Ian Platt and himself entitled “Printed NRI Metamaterial Based on Broad-Side-Coupled SRRs and a Thinned Array of Strips”.  This work described an important outcome from their work on evanescent sensors, a project funded by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.

Whilst at APMC2016, Eccleston participated as a member of the APMC Prize judging panel to identify the best paper from shortlisted candidates.  The proliferation of 3D printing has opened-up new opportunities for rapid prototyping of complex components that would otherwise be too expensive to machine using traditional methods.  It was, therefore, fitting that the APMC Prize for APMC2016 was awarded to a paper describing the use of the renowned Tollen’s test to silver plate 3D plastic objects to manufacture waveguide components.

Eccleston also attended the APMC International Steering Committee and was appointed a voting member.  This committee is the governance body of APMC and monitors quality of the conference, advises host APMC organisers, and selects host cities for future events.

As well as benefitting from the scientific and professional networking aspects of the conference, Eccleston also visited the Swaminarayan Akshardham temple, which he recommends to anyone visiting New Delhi.

7th Asian-Australian Conference on Precision Agriculture

The 7th Asian-Australasian Conference on Precision Agriculture will be held in Hamilton from 16-18 October 2017.  The event will bring together a diverse range of researchers, practitioners and commercial operators from various disciplines. Participants will be able to interact with influential leaders, learn about the latest trends, and network with industry members. 

The conference combines three separate meetings:   the 7th Asian-Australasian Conference on Precision Agriculture (7ACPA); the 1st Asian-Australasian Conference on Precision Pasture and Livestock Farming (1ACPLF); and Digital Farmer and Grower 2017 (DF&G2017). 

7th Asian-Australasian Conference on Precision Agriculture (7ACPA)
This international conference is held biennially in the Asia-Pacific region and New Zealand will be hosting this event for the first time. World-leading scientists will discuss trends, and research and development projects in the agricultural and horticultural sectors. 

1st Asian-Australasian Conference on Precision Pasture and Livestock Farming (1ACPLF)
This conference will focus on knowledge and tools for managing pastures and livestock animals. It will discuss best practice and methods for optimising pasture, health and wellbeing of animals, and how to maximise productivity and assess environmental impacts. 1ACPLP succeeds the Australian-New Zealand symposium series on Spatially Enabled Livestock Management (SELM) and introduce additional topics.

Digital Farmer and Grower 2017 (DF&G2017)
The latest research, innovations and tools that farmers can use to track and monitor farming processes will be presented at this conference. 

The 7th Asian-Australasian Conference on Precision Agriculture is organised by the Precision Agriculture Association New Zealand. For more information about the event and entry fee, click here or visit  
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