Production, protection and adding value

July 2017

At the Beehive - Lincoln Agritech's Precision Agriculture Group Manager, Dr Armin Werner, left, with Lincoln University Bio-Protection Research Centre's Director, Prof Travis Glare. Photo credit: Roger Williams, Plant and Food.

“Production, protection and adding value” was the theme for April’s Speaker’s Science Forum. Presenters included Lincoln Agritech’s Group Manager of Precision Agriculture, Dr Armin Werner, and Lincoln University Bio-Protection Research Centre’s Director, Prof Travis Glare. 

Dr Armin Werner delivered a presentation titled, “Looking into grape vines: science and technology for early stage prediction of grape yield in the vineyard”. The presentation gave an overview of one of Lincoln Agritech’s MBIE-funded research programmes – A sensor- and model-based analyser for block-scale grape yield prediction. This innovative system, co-funded by New Zealand Wine, uses non-invasive sensing techniques that combine machine vision, microwaves and probability-based bio-economic models to count and predict future fruit yield. 

Led by Lincoln Agritech, this collaborative research programme includes scientists from the New Zealand Institute of Plant and Food Research, Lincoln University, the University of Canterbury, and an Australian research organisation; it is supported by New Zealand Wine Growers and several North and South Island vineyards.

The Speaker’s Science Forum was well attended and Dr Werner’s presentation well received, with several parliamentarians discussing practical aspects of the project and benefits for the New Zealand wine industry. 

The Speaker’s Science Forum provides the opportunity for Members of the New Zealand Parliament to regularly meet New Zealand scientists in Wellington to discuss advances in research and development. This regular event is organised by the Royal Society of New Zealand in conjunction with the Speaker of Parliament and the Chair of the Parliamentary Education and Science Committee. Topics are chosen in collaboration with Forum partners, which include Science New Zealand, Universities New Zealand, and the Independent Research Association of New Zealand.

Independent Research Organisations have been well represented at this year’s Speaker’s Science Forum series. In February, Dr Helen Rutter Aqualinc spoke on Groundwater - a mysterious resource. At the March forum, Dr Jared Thomas from Opus Research spoke on Public transport and smarter mobility in our growing cities and Dr Hamish Mackie from  Mackie Research spoke on Active transport in growing cities. In June, Dr Paul Young from the Medical Research Institute of New Zealand spoke on “Creating learning healthcare systems to save lives and minimise costs”,  You can listen to Dr Young on this podcast Dr Paul Young: Improving Intensive Care | Saturday Morning, 9:05 am on 25 February 2017 | RNZ

In July, in the final forum before the election, Greg Bodecker from Bodecker Scientific briefed MPs on the new Centre for Space Science Technology, a Regional Research Institute in Alexandra. Dr Bodecker explained how The Centre for Space Science Technology will help New Zealand’s industries access new and existing space-based measurements and will develop satellite data products and solutions specific to industry needs to drive regional economic growth. CSST vision is to enable thriving regional industries across New Zealand to gain or maintain  an internationally competitive advantage by making smarter decisions using state-of-the-art products and services that capitalise on the availability of space-based data.