This year's Fieldays theme, 'Growing our capability in Agribusiness', is one the University of Waikato is embracing as it gets ready to showcase its latest research and innovation at the 2015 National Agricultural Fieldays.
The University of Waikato enters its ninth year as a strategic partner of Fieldays and Vice-Chancellor Professor Neil Quigley is welcoming the opportunity to put Waikato's Agribusiness strengths on the map.
"We've long had an investment in Agribusiness initiatives. Now we're focusing more than ever on addressing skills shortages and providing work-ready graduates, and as a result we've seen a lot of students go straight into the Agribusiness sector after graduating," says Professor Quigley.
Industry and research go hand-in-hand
The University's stand at Fieldays will highlight how mutually beneficial links with industry are assisting research projects that are solving some of the world's big problems.
One of these projects is a robotic machine that automates the lifting and grading of seedlings. The first prototype will be on display at Fieldays and uses two cameras to analyse a seedling to determine its viability for sale to the forestry industry.
Likely ready for market in the next two years, the yet-to-be-named lifting and grading machine will work alongside another Waikato-led project, the Dibbler, to enhance forestry nursery processes.
The University's stand will also feature students, graduates and researchers making big contributions to the Agribusiness sector.
A lengthy partnership
With a mutual interest in growing the agricultural sector, the University of Waikato has a long-standing relationship with Fieldays, with founding Vice-Chancellor Sir Don Llewellyn helping establish the event in the 1960s.
"Community engagement is at the heart of everything we do, and our ongoing collaboration with Fieldays is proof of this," says Professor Quigley.
"I encourage people to visit our stand and see just how much we are tackling those big questions and making an impact in our region and country."
The University of Waikato continues to play a key role in the region. In 2014 it contributed $988 million to the national economy, up $50 million from the year before. That total is predicted to exceed $1 billion in the next year.
Agri-event to kick off Fieldays
On the eve of Fieldays, the University of Waikato will host agri-stakeholders at an event to showcase its latest research and strengthen links with the agricultural industry. Researchers and others with an interest in the agri-sector are invited to register online here.
Live from Fieldays
For more information on the University of Waikato's involvement at Fieldays, Click here