When an automatic meal feeder meets the 2018 Innovation Award

Rural Exchange 17/02/2018

Southern Field Days have a reputation of unearthing the most innovative agri-tech in New Zealand.

CalfSMART’s Zeddy dry meal feeder, which optimises and monitors nutrition for calves, took home the 2018 Innovation Award.

Kate Gwilliam, the woman behind the feeder, joined Rural Exchange to chat about her background and her innovative product. 

Developed at the start of last year, the CalfSMART feeder uses RFID tags to feed each animal an individualised diet. The solar-powered meal feeder transmits data straight to a farmer’s phone or computer to help monitor and improve calf health.

The great thing about this is that every animal is fed an individualised diet.

Farmers are also able to set the size and number of feeds that each animal should get every 24 hours, feeding up to 250 at a time.

“It’s all about getting a more consistent weight ratio through that whole group of calves,” she told RadioLIVE.

Mrs Gwilliam is part of the Alison Group which is a collection of family businesses based in Palmerston North. At Field Days, the family had four businesses with a focus on monitoring and fuel, including CalfSMART.

The “catalyst” of the businesses started when Ms Gwilliam’s parents began a company called Rural Fuel. After selling Rural Fuel, several other businesses spawned. CalfSMART was built more recently on relationships that the family has with young innovators.

“CalfSMART has come from through relationships that we’ve built with young, smart, intelligent people,” Mrs Gwilliam said. 

Listen to the full interview with Kate Gwilliam above. 

Rural Exchange with Hamish McKay, Sarah Perriam and Richard Loe, 5-7am Saturday and Sunday on RadioLIVE with Carter’s Tyre Service. Click here for all the ways to watch and listen.