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Feature Article

Keith Andrews supports groundspreading innovation

Keith Andrews Trucks was the proud sponsor of the Innovation Award at the Groundspread Awards Gala 2022.

As an authorised distributor of one of the world’s most innovative commercial vehicle brands – Daimler – and supply partner to a wide range of leading Kiwi businesses, Keith Andrews jumped at the chance to sponsor the New Zealand Groundspread Fertiliser Association’s Innovation Award.

Keith Andrews Hamilton dealer principal Erwin Stolze presented the winner’s trophy to Jon Jackson of Jackson Spreading at an Awards Gala and Workshop Day at Wellington InterContinental in July.

“It was a privilege to sponsor this award and to host a dedicated innovation workshop on the day,” said Erwin. “Our dealerships across the North Island have been proud long-term partners to the groundspreading industry for many years.

“This event recognises those who have made a significant and positive contribution to the groundspreading industry and highlights the essential role these businesses play in the food production chain in New Zealand.

“Jon is a very worthy winner of the Innovation Award and was closely challenged by runner-up Peter Harrison, who continues to push the boundaries of what spreading gear can do through his company ACE Equipment.”

About the winner 

Jon Jackson is widely recognised as a true groundspreading pioneer. He was the first contractor in New Zealand to deploy N-optical sensors, which measure a crop’s colour and density (biomass) so that the amount of fertiliser applied can be adjusted accordingly. This method improves yield and reduces waste.

“He took a leap of faith with this technology and has paved the way for its use in NZ,” says the man who nominated Jon for the award, Hamish Woolsey from R & R Spreading. “He now has a wealth of knowledge that he is willing to share with other members who want to use it.”

Jon has also played a key role in pioneering the use of the Spikey machine, working with its Auckland-based developer Pastoral Robotics Ltd.

Spikey can be attached to a spreader and rolled across a paddock. Its spikes go down into the soil to detect urine patches. When a patch is detected, Spikey sprays a chemical to prevent the creation of nitrous oxide – a potent greenhouse gas. In turn, the amount of nitrogen fertiliser applied can also be regulated more efficiently.

“The trial work coming out of the new Spikey machine is phenomenal and would never have been possible without Jon's input,” says Hamish. “Jon has had a very leading hand in improving this technology for the dairy pastoral sector.”

The Keith Andrews team extends it congratulations to Jon Jackson and to this year’s runner-up Peter Harrison.

Read more about Spikey technology here.

Read more about NZGAF here.