Lincoln ideas front and centre in food and fibre challenge

08 April 2022 | News

Several Lincoln University alumni and staff members have been named as finalists in the Food, Fibre & Agritech (FFA) Supernode Challenge.

Presented by ChristchurchNZ and the campus-based B.linc Innovation, the challenge is back for the second year in a row to bring new ventures to life in Canterbury.

The success of the first programme, launched in 2021, led to a new challenge this year, with potential participants invited to submit fresh ideas to advance the region’s food, fibre and agritech sector. Winners will receive a share in more than $70,000 in cash and in-kind prizes.

Entries focused on products, processes, food production, research, or business ventures to support a more sustainable, efficient future for Aotearoa New Zealand. 

The top 24 ventures have now been announced, with Lincoln University and B.linc ideas well represented across the shortlisted entries.

Autonomous Irrigator – Alastair Frizzell, Lincoln University alumnus
Alastair Frizzell’s idea of developing an automated irrigator that can be programmed to accurately irrigate any area would save farmers time, money and water.

Irrigating hard-to-reach areas can be a problem, as centre pivot irrigators only cover 80 per cent of a square and other irrigation systems are typically labour intensive or inefficient when it comes to water use.

Alastair holds a Bachelor of Agricultural Science and owns Frizzell Agricultural Electronics, a company specialising in weighing, solar and water management solutions for farmers. 

DietDecoder™: Advancing animal wellness through pasture insights – Cynthia Northcote, Lincoln University alumna and Emily House, former B.linc tenant
Cynthia Northcote and Emily House’s DietDecoder™ software solution is designed to connect pasture nutrient insights to animal health and welfare.

Despite farm management advances, animal health and performance outcomes are still held back by traditional analysis methods. DietDecoder™ will help consultants and their farmers to achieve efficiency and sustainable farm animal performance.

The software has applications on a global scale in pasture-based ruminant livestock systems.

Cynthia holds a Bachelor of Agricultural Science and is Managing Director at 5th Business Agri, a company that uses a Dietary Intelligence Model to support farmers. Emily works with Cynthia at 5th Business Agri as a Technical Advisor.

Stash Cash from Forest Slash – Patrick Clement, Lincoln University alumni
Patrick Clement’s idea involves researching and commercialising the native huhu grub, Prionoplus Reticularis, as valuable food source and natural environmental solution for post-harvest forestry debris (known as slash).

The huhu grub could be used to create gourmet dishes, hummus and food ingredient powders.

Patrick holds a Bachelor of Agricultural Science and is an experienced leader who has demonstrated a long commitment to the agribusiness sector through a broad range of senior marketing, management and leadership positions over several decades.

Ensilage: Sustainable feed security for livestock – Lauren Roberts, Lincoln University staff member
Lauren Roberts’ entry focuses on helping to preserve feed for animals by replacing silage wrap with an airtight container and tracking fermentation to determine the quality of the feed.

At present, preserved silage quality is often unknown. This solution would reduce farm waste, improve silage quality and extend silage shelf life.

Lauren is Lincoln University’s Educational Facilitator, which involves presenting on-farm workshops to secondary school students throughout the year to highlight the importance of science to the agricultural sector.

Production of nutritious 3D printed foods using microgreens – Damir Torrico, Lincoln University staff member
Damir Torrico’s idea involves building an efficient and self-contained production module that will generate nutritious, palatable 3D printed foods based on microgreens.

The module would integrate sensing technologies, artificial intelligence and food 3D printing to create foods with different nutritional compositions and tastes.

Damir is a Senior Lecturer in Lincoln University’s Department of Wine, Food and Molecular Biosciences. His teaching and research interests focus on sensory science in food and beverages, specifically taste perception, food product optimisation, consumer acceptability and consumers’ physiological and psychological responses to food products.

See the B.linc Innovation website for information on all 24 entries that made the finals and further details on the challenge.