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July 2017 Newsletter
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The Lincoln Agritech team on the excavation site preparing to construct the denitrifying bioreactor.

Denitrifying bioreactor to reduce nitrate discharges from artificial drainage


Lincoln Agritech is currently working with ESR and AquaLinc Research Ltd on a three year science project in the Hauraki Plains. The project, as part of the larger “Enhanced Mitigation of Nitrate in Groundwater” programme, investigates using a woodchip denitrifying bioreactor to reduce nitrate loads from pastoral lands. 

Approximately 40% of dairying land consists of poorly drained soils. In these instances, artificial drainage is essential, but surface and subsurface water drains contribute to fast and non-attenuated nutrient transfers to streams and rivers. This bioreactor project aims to study and reduce the nitrate discharge from a subsurface drain pipe by stimulating denitrification, that is, the microbial conversion of nitrate into gaseous forms of nitrogen (largely N2). To achieve this, the researchers re-routed drainage water from a lateral subsurface drain into a bioreactor filled with untreated pine woodchips. The presence of woodchips (a carbon source) encourages the naturally-occurring microorganisms to facilitate denitrification.  Overall, this bioreactor system is designed to reduce nitrate load from a lateral subsurface drain by 50%. 

Lincoln Agritech has been involved in the design, construction, monitoring and operation of the denitrifying bioreactor including collection and analysis of data from monitoring flow, temperature, rainfall and taking regular samples of inlet and outlet water for nitrogen and carbon species. The broad aim is to demonstrate that a woodchip denitrifying bioreactor is a practical and cost-effective technology to enhance nitrate removal from agricultural drainage. By assessing the performance of the system, including possible negative side-effects (e.g. odour), this research will inform best-practice methods and optimisation of future installations of bioreactors in New Zealand. 
Left: Filling the pit with pine wood chips. Right: Installation of  bioreactor control boxes.
IRRICAD is now available as a plug-in for industry standard CAD platforms

In May, Lincoln Agritech announced a major software upgrade for IRRICAD – the leading irrigation design software program. Previously, customers have been able to experience IRRICAD as a standalone program, but now in response to customer feedback, we are pleased to announce IRRICAD will also be available as a plug-in for industry standard CAD platforms, AutoCAD and BricsCAD, under the brand, IRRICAD Link.

Users will experience all the current powerful IRRICAD irrigation design features fully integrated with the familiar AutoCAD or BricsCAD interface, delivering a greater range of tools and functionality. These proven performance platforms enable users to streamline irrigation designs and documentation workflows delivering more design alternatives in less time.

Fully customisable menus allow users to create a look and feel specific to their requirements within a scalable platform suitable for both individuals and large companies. Improved graphical performance promotes professional presentation capability ensuring irrigation design projects stand out from the crowd while allowing users to standardise company branding. 
 
For more information, visit irricadlink.irricad.com or contact support@irricad.com. 

Lincoln Agritech welcomes Clive Marsh




Clive grew up in rural North Shropshire in the United Kingdom and trained in Mathematical Engineering at Loughborough University. After graduation, Ford Motor Company supported Clive to undertake an industry sponsored PhD where he worked on developing methodologies for designing control strategies for active suspension systems.  

After completing his studies in 1993, Clive relocated to New Zealand to take up a lectureship position at Massey University in the Technology and Engineering Department in Palmerston North. At Massey University, Clive was involved in numerous industrial consulting projects focusing on the processing industries and, in particular, dairy product processing.  

In 1999 he moved to LincLab (subsequently Canesis then AgResearch) specialising in industrial consulting, production benchmarking and auditing. He then moved to Keraplast Research where he was part of a small team commercialising a novel (bio)technology for wound care.  This role encompassed multiple facets including: product development, management of clinical trials, liaising with distributors, process scale-up and establishment of manufacturing facilities, process improvement and optimisation, management of quality systems and regulatory issues.  

Clive recently joined Lincoln Agritech and is part of the sensing technologies team where he will contribute to projects involving electromagnetic and thermal sensing, pattern recognition and parameterisation of multi-dimensional surfaces.

Away from work, Clive is a partner in a commercial walnut orchard. This industry has taught him new skills and has given him further insight into the commercial agricultural and horticultural sectors.  

Clive’s interests are:
  • Process modelling and control
  • Electromagnetic sensing technologies
  • Product development
  • Applied mathematics
Clive is located at Lincoln Agritech’s Lincoln office. You can contact him on:
(p) 03 325 3719
(e) clive.marsh@lincolnagritech.co.nz
Lincoln Agritech at the Beehive


 
At the Beehive - Lincoln Agritech's Precision Agriculture Group Manager, Dr Armin Werner, with Lincoln University Bio-Protection Research Centre's Director, Prof Travis Glare.

The ‘Speaker’s Science Forum’ provides the opportunity for Members of the New Zealand Parliament to regularly meet New Zealand scientists in Wellington to discuss advances in research and development. This regular event is organised by the Royal Society of New Zealand in conjunction with the Speaker of Parliament and the Chair of the Parliamentary Education and Science Committee. Topics are chosen in collaboration with Forum partners, which include Science New Zealand, Universities New Zealand and the Independent Research Association of New Zealand.

In April, Lincoln Agritech’s Group Manager of Precision Agriculture, Dr Armin Werner, and Lincoln University Bio-Protection Research Centre’s Director, Prof Travis Glare, gave presentations at the Forum on the theme of “Production, protection and adding value”. 

Dr Armin Werner delivered a presentation titled, “Looking into grape vines: science and technology for early stage prediction of grape yield in the vineyard”. This presentation gave an overview of one of Lincoln Agritech’s MBIE-funded research programmes – ‘A sensor- and model-based analyser for block-scale grape yield prediction’. This innovative system, co-funded by New Zealand Wine, will use non-invasive sensing techniques that combine machine vision, microwaves and probability-based bio-economic models to count and predict future fruit yield. 

Led by Lincoln Agritech, this collaborative research programme includes scientists from the New Zealand Institute of Plant and Food Research, Lincoln University, the University of Canterbury and an Australian research organisation; it is supported by New Zealand Wine Growers and several North and South Island vineyards.

This Speaker’s Science Forum was well attended and Dr Werner’s presentation was well received, with the parliamentarians discussing practical aspects of the project and benefits for the New Zealand wine industry. 

Lincoln Agritech welcomes Johanna Steyaert


Jo is a molecular and microbial research scientist with a strong background in biocontrol of plant diseases. Her research spans from understanding the genetics of biocontrol fungi to optimising production of biocontrol agents in collaboration with commercial partners.

She began her career in the private sector as a Seed Analyst at Challenge Seeds (PGG Wrightson), and then moved into academia completing a MSc in fungal biocontrol mechanisms and a PhD in fungal reproduction at Lincoln University.

After completing her PhD, Jo won a prestigious Marsden Fund grant from the New Zealand Royal Society. She led a highly original project studying the effect of the Earth’s electromagnetic field on fungal reproduction. Prior to coming to Lincoln Agritech, Jo was a senior scientist at the Bio-Protection Research Centre where she worked on biocontrol of plant diseases using Trichoderma fungi.

Jo recently joined Lincoln Agritech and is part of the sensing technologies team where she will contribute to projects involving microbiology and biocontrol of plant diseases.

Her research interests include:
  • Fungal reproduction
  • Plant-microbe interactions
  • Magnetobiology
Jo is located at our Lincoln office. You can contact her on:
(p) 03 325 3712
(e) johanna.steyaert@lincolnagritech.co.nz
Fieldays 2017
Dr Blair Miller being interviewed by James Rickard from UK Farmers Guardian. 
NZ Agricultural Fieldays held at Mystery Creek in Hamilton are always a big event in the annual farming calendar. This year’s event (14-17 June) was no exception and attracted a record crowd of approximately 133,600 visitors over the busy four day event.  This year, Lincoln Agritech exhibited alongside Lincoln University and showcased a variety of research projects and commercial technologies, including:
  • Nitrate Sensor, an optical nitrate (ground and surface water) environmental monitoring tool; 
  • PAWS, an interactive digital trackpad and animal surveillance conservation technology; 
  • ColourStick, a colorimeter designed for Zespri to grade green kiwifruit and measure fruit ripeness;
  • FECPAKG2, Techion Group’s faecal parasite diagnostic technology – Lincoln Agritech made a substantial contribution to designing the imaging processing capability; and
  • IRRICAD, Lincoln Agritech’s world-leading irrigation design software.
As well as interacting with members of the public, networking with clients and other research providers, Group Manager Environmental Research, Dr Blair Miller, was interviewed by journalist, James Rickard, Head of Machinery and Farm Technology from the UK Farmers Guardian. To view Dr Millers’ interview on the Nitrate Sensor, click on the Youtube video clip below.

The Nitrate Sensor was also considered to be an "Agritech highlight" at Fieldays and featured in New Zealand Trade and Enterprises' latest Export News newsletter, click here to read the article.
Fieldays 2017: Interview with Lincoln Agritech's Dr Blair Miller
Fieldays 2017: Interview with Lincoln Agritech's Dr Blair Miller
Lincoln Hub celebrates Tech Week
Left: Lincoln Agritech's Tech Week stand with technologies on display. Right: Lincoln Agritech's CEO, Peter Barrowclough, gives a presentation on IRRICAD and the latest advancements.
Techweek (techweek.co.nz) is committed to encouraging global thought leadership and growing NZ into a global technology and innovation hub. Established in 2016, the guardians of Techweek are an establishment board of industry experts passionate about NZ’s innovation ecosystem and its potential positive impact on the world. Tech-Week’17, held throughout New Zealand during 6-14 May 2017, saw 287 events running in 24 locations across the country and was attended by more than 20,000 people of all ages.  The series of national-based events and seminars aimed to bring together “New Zealand’s brightest technology and innovation talent to tackle global issues with local ingenuity”.

New Zealand’s AgTech sector is a NZ$3 billion industry, generating export sales exceeding $700 million annually. To promote awareness of the sector, an AgTech Showcase was hosted by the Lincoln Hub on 10 May at AgResearch as part of Techweek’17. It brought together university students, corporate staff and researchers from the science industry and a number of Canterbury-based companies to discuss current agricultural challenges and how technology can contribute solutions. 

The event featured presentations from a wide range of experts and showcased some exciting new technologies. Participants included AgriOptics, AgResearch, Brush Technologies, CropLogic, Dairy Excellence, Foundation for Arable Research (FAR), Landcare Research, Robotics Plus, and many more.

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 www.7acpa-2017.org.  
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