Milk spill stopper wins innovation award

03:58, Jun 13 2014
National Fieldays
Kris Fannin of Cambridge fixes up a tent on the Contractors Federation site blown down by strong winds over night at National Fieldays at Mystery Creek.
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The sun shines on the early starters on the first day of the 2014 National Fieldays at Mystery Creek.
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After a stormy night, the sun shines over the first day 2014 National Fieldays at Mystery Creek.
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The weather was bleak on the eve of the 2014 National Fieldays at Mystery Creek.
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Josie Yockney wears her trusty gumboots to get through wet conditions on the eve of the 2014 National Fieldays at Mystery Creek.
National Fieldays
Leaning into the wind from a bank above the National Agricultural Fieldays site are, from right, Matamata lads Taylor Green, 19, Zach Bell, 18 and Daniel Phillips, 20.
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Pretty boys: Rural bachelors contestants, from left, Michael Paton, Jimmy Bentham, Josh Gilbert, Brett Steeghs and Thomas Denham during a question and answer session.
National Agricultural Fieldays at Mystery Creek.
Boys with free stuff: Rhys Kimber, Matt Hanson and Sam Smith, all 15 and from Kristin School in Auckland, enjoy the National Agricultural Fieldays at Mystery Creek.
National Agricultural Fieldays at Mystery Creek.
Thumbs up: Zac Gillespie of Inglewood gets his pic taken by Ebony de Thierry in front of a Westpac Rescue Helicopter at the National Agricultural Fieldays at Mystery Creek.
National Agricultural Fieldays 2014
Prime Minister John Key tries out a Honda quad bike at the National Agricultural Fieldays at Mystery Creek.
National Agricultural Fieldays 2014
Korey Knudsen, 18 months old, tries out an interesting display at the Stoney Creek site at the National Agricultural Fieldays at Mystery Creek.
National Agricultural Fieldays 2014
Holly Duggan gets a pic to remember with Prime Minister John Key at the National Agricultural Fieldays at Mystery Creek.

The dragons have chosen, and another farm invention is one step closer to commercial success.

For the second year running, Fieldays had its own Dragons Den-style competition for agricultural innovations.

The joint initiative, run by Fieldays and Hamilton business incubator Soda Inc, selected nine innovators from a pool of 20 to present their gadgets to a panel of experienced investors and business leaders.

2014 National Fieldays
Tyler Wetere, 8, complete with goodies bag around this neck, negotiates a walkway at the 2014 National Fieldays at Mystery Creek.
2014 National Fieldays
Little Angus Leigh-Mackenzie appears well-equipped to help with chainsawing displays at the 2014 National Fieldays at Mystery Creek.
2014 National Fieldays
Mark Birks, 5, gets some digger driving advice from Alistair McIntyre at the 2014 National Fieldays at Mystery Creek.
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Pumps were needed after heavy overnight at the 2014 National Fieldays at Mystery Creek.
2014 National Fieldays
Sophie Robinson and Jared Suisted at the 2014 National Fieldays at Mystery Creek.
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Gumboots and umbrellas were necessary fashion accessories on day two of the 2014 National Fieldays at Mystery Creek.
2014 National Fieldays
Mark Lambert carries a post hole borer in the fencing competition at the 2014 National Fieldays at Mystery Creek.
2014 National Fieldays
Shane, Aimee, Tommy and Michelle Lawson from Okaihau Bay of Islands are dressed for the inclement weather at the 2014 National Fieldays at Mystery Creek. at the 2014 National Fieldays at Mystery Creek.
2014 National Fieldays
Sam, Nathan, Amanda and Maxwell Flowerday of Tauranga at dressed for the conditions at the 2014 National Fieldays at Mystery Creek.
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Nick Lieftieng and Tim Stafford compete in the early stages of the national fencing championships at the 2014 National Fieldays at Mystery Creek. Hamilton.
2014 National Fieldays
Tim Stafford and Nick Lieftieng compete in the early stages of the national fencing championships at the 2014 National Fieldays at Mystery Creek. Hamilton.

The top prize, Most Viable Business, went to Pahiatua couple Graeme and Alison Franklin with the DTexH2o.

The invention is an electronic probe and alarm to stop farmers spilling milk down the drain or getting water in the milk vat during wash-down.

When a dairy shed is washed down, water is pumped through the pipes, pushing the last milk through into the vat. It is up to the farmer to re-route the water to stop it going in the vat.

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 Ag Art Wear Show at the 2014 National Fieldays at Mystery Creek.
A Brontie Birchall-designed outfit on the runway for the Ag Art Wear Show at the 2014 National Fieldays at Mystery Creek.
 Ag Art Wear Show at the 2014 National Fieldays at Mystery Creek.
A Sandra Guest-designed outfit on the runway for the Ag Art Wear Show at the 2014 National Fieldays at Mystery Creek.
 Ag Art Wear Show at the 2014 National Fieldays at Mystery Creek.
A Mercia Paaymans-designed outfit on the runway for the Ag Art Wear Show at the 2014 National Fieldays at Mystery Creek.
 Ag Art Wear Show at the 2014 National Fieldays at Mystery Creek.
An outfit on the runway for the Ag Art Wear Show at the 2014 National Fieldays at Mystery Creek.
 Ag Art Wear Show at the 2014 National Fieldays at Mystery Creek.
A Sandra East-designed outfit on the runway for the Ag Art Wear Show at the 2014 National Fieldays at Mystery Creek.
Ag Art Wear entry is paraded at the 2014 National Fieldays at Mystery Creek.
Ag Art Wear entry is paraded at the 2014 National Fieldays at Mystery Creek.
Ag Art Wear entry is paraded at the 2014 National Fieldays at Mystery Creek.
Ag Art Wear entry is paraded at the 2014 National Fieldays at Mystery Creek.
Ag Art Wear entry is paraded at the 2014 National Fieldays at Mystery Creek.
Ag Art Wear entry is paraded at the 2014 National Fieldays at Mystery Creek.
Ag Art Wear entry is paraded at the 2014 National Fieldays at Mystery Creek.
Ag Art Wear entry is paraded at the 2014 National Fieldays at Mystery Creek.
Ag Art Wear entry is paraded at the 2014 National Fieldays at Mystery Creek.
Ag Art Wear entry is paraded at the 2014 National Fieldays at Mystery Creek.
Ag Art Wear entry is paraded at the 2014 National Fieldays at Mystery Creek.
Ag Art Wear entry is paraded at the 2014 National Fieldays at Mystery Creek.
Ag Art Wear entry is paraded at the 2014 National Fieldays at Mystery Creek.
Ag Art Wear entry is paraded at the 2014 National Fieldays at Mystery Creek.

Turning the valve too early means milk goes down the drain. Too late and water goes in the vat, which can mean decreased milk quality and fines from the dairy company.

Often this decision is made by the farmer putting their hand on the pipe and feeling when the cold water passes by.

The DTexH2o is installed in the pipeline, and sets off an alarm when water passes by the probe, giving the farmer a pre-set amount of time to switch the valve.

Alison and Graeme Franklin show off the DTexH2o the National Fieldays innovation awards main winner.
MILKING IT: Alison and Graeme Franklin show off the DTexH2o the National Fieldays innovation awards main winner.

"It removes the idiot factor," said Alison Franklin, who takes care of the marketing side of business.

She said as well as removing the risk of the farmer getting distracted and forgetting to turn the valve, it gives them peace of mind when the shed is being run by casual workers and relief milkers.

Franklin said her husband Graeme is a backyard innovator, and has invented all sorts of gadgets over the years.

He came up with the idea for the DTexH2o in a flash of inspiration in the middle of the night.

Twenty of the devices have already been installed in milking sheds, and it has been tested by rural science company QCONZ, with a 100 per cent pass rate.

Fonterra has approved the product for its farmers to use, and the Franklins have a manufacturer lined up who can produce 100 a week.

The couple are looking for a $50,000 investment to get help with marketing and distribution of the product, and the judging panel were impressed.

"I really love the idea that you've already got approval for this from Fonterra," they said.

Soda business growth manager Petr Adamek, who was event MC, said the Franklins stood out from the group because they thought about the business aspect, rather than just the invention.

"Because they are both farmers, they understand the problem, they understand the risk that  water means for milk and for money ... They really structured it as a business rather than only a technical solution."

The prize was a $15,000 12-week "lift programme" from Soda to build networks, improve the business and work on an investor pitch.

Adamek said the competition was close this year.

"I think it was a step up... I think people are beginning to really listen to our advice and pitch it well."

Other competitors of note were the Liquid Strip filtration system, which won the Brilliant Simplicity award, and the Ice Cycle milk snap chiller, which won the Best Pitch award.

The competition also saw the return of 13-year old Patrick Roskam, who won a prize last year with his Gudgeon Pro fencing device.

While he didn't win a prize this year, Adamek applauded his improved prototype and business approach.

"I think young inventors like him with support and enthusiasm from the family are really vital for the country, because he can inspire a whole generation of kids to do things that really matter for the future of our economy," said Adamek.

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