Two technology-integrated farming tools earned the top spots in the annual Inventor’s Showcase at the 2015 Manitoba Ag Days.
The Inventor’s Showcase, which is sponsored by the Manitoba Co-operator, is an annual feature at the trade show and is designed to encourage the development of products that are geared to assist in farm operations.
A Canadian Internet-based agronomic program, AgChemExpert was awarded the first prize out of 10 competing inventions.
AgChemExpert is an online crop protection guide that allows producers to find the appropriate chemical tailored to their needs in a timely fashion with great detail.
“Every farm faces different challenges requiring different types of information. As a retailer and an agronomist myself, I saw a need for a fast, detailed and accurate chemical guide and so I created it,” said Chris Hawkins, managing director of AgChemExpert.
In 2000, a large influx of agricultural chemicals was introduced into the Canadian marketplace, which motivated Hawkins to streamline the process of determining which chemicals to use on what crops.
“This tool was designed to eliminate 13 years’ worth of crop guides and put all that information in one place for quick and easy reference in the palm of your hand. It has been created for ease-of-use to allow the user to get in, find the information and get spraying,” said Hawkins.
AgChemExpert is available online, does not require downloading any additional software and is a live program, receiving daily alterations and updates to ensure it is accurate to the marketplace.
“All of your new chemicals will be in there for spring with all the up-to-date prices, as well as all of your new packaging. The whole idea is that every chemical and all the information that you need is here in one convenient spot.”
Hawkins notes that the program also offers a number of additional tools besides the crop protection guide, including a resource section with advice on when to spray, water quality, generic products, resistance management, tank-mixing guides, conversions and calculations and details on rebate programs.
“We were also lucky enough to partner with spraying expert Tom Wolf. All of his research is available on here, including tips on how to increase your productivity, nozzle selection and droplets and drift management. This really rounds off the program nicely because we can find out not only what the proper chemicals are but also how to apply them correctly and with the most efficiency,” Hawkins said.
Second place in the Inventor’s Showcase was awarded to Agrimatics for its Libra grain cart weighing and data management product.
The Libra device is coupled with an application that works congruently to create a full-feature grain cart weighing and data management system.
This first-ever tablet and smartphone-based grain cart weighing and data management system automatically detects how much grain has been harvested and allows remote users to view grain cart data on any device.
“The Libra device mounts directly to the grain cart and connects to any industry-standard load bars. A smartphone, tablet or computer running the partnered application then wirelessly connects to the device, reducing cables between the grain cart and tractor,” explained Ian Meier, chairman and CEO of Agrimatics. “This app simplifies the calibration process and virtually eliminates hand calculations.”
Meier highlights the unload detection feature on the app that ensures that every load is accurately tracked.
“This application also eliminates the need for logbooks or saving data to USB drives as the data collected from the device can be shared through email and opened with any standard spreadsheet software,” said Meier.
The Libra device is weatherproof, designed to withstand extreme temperatures, high vibrations and possesses an energy-efficient design to guarantee it will outlast harvest season on a single battery.
“We launched the product about a year and a half ago. It was used by a number of producers throughout the last harvest season and we have received overwhelmingly positive feedback,” added Meier.