From circular anti-mastitis teat sprayers, chemical monitoring apps, biodegradable dyes to detect water leaks and cattle neck attachments to assist drenching to nano gardens for kitchen benches, it was a showcase of innovation at this year’s Crocodile Pit. Students showed what it takes to invent, promote and pitch a new concept, to a room of judges, in the school’s annual event, now in its sixth year.
In the Dragon’s Den style presentation, nine groups of year 13 agribusiness students used their allocated four minutes to pitch an agribusiness innovation they believed would help the agrisector.
This year’s winning students were Sam Cox, Kalem Cardon, Ben Strang, Josh Cane and Declan O’Sullivan who formed the group, Roll Gauge. Together they designed a safety device that activates an alarm when tipped past a certain angle while riding a quad bike, to alert the driver they’re in danger of rolling.
Judge and business consultant, Bob Weir said this year’s winner was a standout because the group recognised a need to get expert help in electronics to further develop their concept.
“That’s exactly what people do in business. When they don’t have the expertise themselves, they find the right expertise to help them get ahead.”
I am proud this group called on one of their peers, who is not an agribusiness student, but who has a knowledge of electronics, to help these men create their product,” says Bob.
Lachlan Coleman, a year 13 student, has an interest in electronics so was able to develop a prototype for the group.
A leak detector called Flash Flow, using a water turbine and a LED light system designed by William Cowan, James Barker, Tom Glenn and Curtly Harper took out second place.
Third place went to Libby Deadman, Lucy Fullerton-Smith, Ellis Watson and Molly Nelson who created Ewe-nique Recognition. They presented the research and development they’ve undertaken to partner with an existing organisation to build an app that captures and stores data of sheep using facial recognition.
Fourth place went to Pheobe McColgan, Ella Harsant and Amy Barry for the invention of a bio-degradable plastic wrap for food, made from hemp cellulose.
The top four groups claimed a prize pool of $1000 cash and the top three groups get the opportunity to showcase their product to thousands of prospective customers online at this year’s new virtual format of the NZ National Fieldays.
The Crocodile Pit judges this year were: Bob Weir (Pinpoint Business), Campbell Parker (CEO Farm Technologies at GEA), Peter Welham (St Paul’s Business Manager), Julia Jones (Head of Analytics at NZX) and Peter Hampton (former Deputy Headmaster and director of agribusiness, St Paul’s).