One of the first products on the “launch pad” on Day one at Canada’s Farm Show Tuesday morning was Honey Bee Manufacturing’s newest Airflex Combine Header.
The latest model is called NXT, or “next” if you’re saying it out loud.
Honey Bee’s North American Sales Manager Perry Gryde says it has several new features which include, but are not limited to, cab-adjustable skid shoes; a new 5-inch narrow profile shield end; a new reel drive; and a larger 12-inch cross auger.
“We’ve got a product that is an absolute beast when it comes to harvesting canola that guys will love the vertical sheer aspect of it,” Gryde boasted. “For us going forward it’s just a next stage to where we want to move with our products and the platform today with the (Canada’s Farm Show) just was an ideal place for us to do that launch.”
Gryde says they wanted to make a high-performance product that is easy to use.
“It’s as easy to operate as running a vacuum over a carpet that once it’s set the header does the work, the operator can sit back and enjoy the ride, and quite often that’s in difficult cutting conditions whether it’s dry or whether it’s extreme wet conditions, we’ve got a product that can perform in that condition.” he added.
From a sales perspective, Gryde says they wanted to release it last year but after conversations with their engineers,decided to wait one more year.
“That’s the value of doing that is we were able to work out a few more kinks in it and have a very, very confident product going forward that it’s going to be durable and high performing and definitely delight our customers,” Gryde said.
He didn’t say exactly how much the attachment costs, but something like that can be upwards of $200-thousand.
24-hour start up contest
Later in the afternoon was the 24-hour start up – Ag Tech contest, where 5 teams had one day to create a minimum viable product (MVP) focusing one at least one farming-related issue, then present it before a panel of 3 judges. $12-thousand in prizes were up for grabs.
Bre Walkeden, a community and partner manager at Cultivator powered by Conexus, says issues covered ranged from labour shortages to soil testing and succession planning.
“That’s the beauty of this event is that it can be a little bit of everything.” Walkeden said.
Another twist was every team consisted of people who didn’t know one another prior to the contest.
“These folks didn’t actually know each other so they are really coming together. They are using their different skills, they are going through both a time crunch as well as a stress crunch to really be able to put this together so they do it on very little sleep, and when you get up there and pitch, you would never know they just met yesterday,” she added. “We’re really proud of them and we think it’s such a great event to have here at the farm show.”
In the end, Farm Forward was the winner, Skill Harvest got second place and UpCrops took home the People’s Choice Award.
Tayab Soomro was a member of the winning team, focusing on the business and marketing side. He says Farm Forward addresses the issue of succession.
“It turns out there are young farmers who are interested in farming, it’s not like we’re losing interest it’s just that there are so many barriers that are in place for them to get started that they can’t get started,” Soomro explained. “Financial hurdles, lack of knowledge. For someone like me who doesn’t have any farming background, getting into this space is quite challenging and resources are extremely scarce.”
And that’s where, he says, Farm Forward comes in to fill the gap.
“It’s like a match-making thing where the experienced farmer gets to train the young farmer, and eventually sell the farming business to them, but also ensure that their farm that they worked their entire life actually gets into the hands of someone who gets to do something with it, who gets to take the baton forward if you will.” Soomro said.
He was quite surprised to find out his team won because the other ideas pitched are just as important as theirs.
As for the next step, Soomro says his team is willing to take Farm Forward to the next level.
“We are planning on pursuing this and seeing how far we can get and hopefully we can actually solve the problem we’re pitching here.”
Canada’s Farm Show continues with Day 2 Wednesday – Innovation & Indigenous People’s Day.