Award-winning agricultural app developer hopes to tap Central Field Days crowds

Tribal founder Neriah Broughton began developing her app to improve hazard reporting after taking a health and safety ...

Tribal founder Neriah Broughton began developing her app to improve hazard reporting after taking a health and safety role with a Bulls farming group last year.

A Manawatu start-up that’s been making waves with a new farm health and safety management app is hoping to gain wider exposure at the upcoming Central Districts Field Days.

Bulls start-up Tribal aims to reduce farm accidents by tailoring their health and safety system around how farmers work. 

The app allows real-time updates and reporting of hazards at anytime, anywhere on the farm. The data gathered can be used to analyse safety issues and generate relevant reports at any level from farm worker to board member. 

The always crowded National Fieldays Innovation Centre inspired the new CD Field Days equivalent. Organiser Brett ...

The always crowded National Fieldays Innovation Centre inspired the new CD Field Days equivalent. Organiser Brett McMeekin hopes the two events can share exhibitors in future.

Tribal is one of 10 companies selected to take part in the newest event at Field Days, the ASB Innovation Zone, giving the fledgling company its largest audience yet.

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Field Days has grown from a small collection of marquees to a nationally significant event over the past 23 years. This year there’s over 550 exhibitors, and it’s expected to draw over 30,000 visitors.

Event organiser Fairfax Media added the new innovation area to showcase the latest in rural innovation and development concepts.

The Tribal app won an award at the 2016 New Zealand Workplace Health and Safety Awards while it was still in the final stages of development. And Tribal has already signed up four farm groups for the app after only two months on the market.

Neriah Broughton founded Tribal to market the farm health and safety app she developed last year, in January after winning the worksafe award.

Farming is the country’s most dangerous job, as confirmed by Worksafe in November. So when Broughton took on a health and safety role for the OB farming group she looked to fit safe practices to how farmers worked.

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“It’s about preventing accidents from happening at all, instead of being an ambulance at the bottom of the cliff.”

Talking to the farmers she found they often skipped filing hazard, near-hit and incident reports. They didn’t have the time or inclination to go all the way back to the office to fill in forms they didn’t get any feedback on anyway.

Broughton’s solution was an easy-to-use interactive app for filing reports, tracking maintenance, or analysing safety trends.

This can be done on a smart phone or from a tablet, in the cow shed or the office, at every level from farm worker to board member.

“The app gets everybody involved and thinking about it, and helps develop a positive health and safety culture.”

Fairfax Media national events manager Brett McMeekin said Innovation Zone was about the tools that would shape the future of farming. 

“We want people to go ‘wow, that’s cool. If it’s in my price bracket it could really change my business.”

McMeekin said in future the exhibitors would be selected through a competition, but for the inaugural event they had asked around for suitable companies.

“We reached out to our [agri-business] contacts and asked who’s doing something interesting and new, something that’s made it past just being a cool idea.”

Levno is also taking part in Innovation Zone, displaying its agricultural remote monitoring and data collection systems.

Its big game changer, national sales manager Shane Parlato said, was a milk vat monitoring system (MVMS).

The system allows farmers to remotely monitor the temperature, volume, and agitation of their milk vats from anywhere in the world.

It allows farmers to adjust everything in real-time at every step of the process from the cows in the shed to the vats and milk tankers. Keeping everything as efficient as possible.

With a remote eye on the process they can keep the milk cooled according to Ministry of Primary Industries guidelines which meant less vats need to be dumped, Parlato said.

“It will allow every farmer in New Zealand to improve their productivity and the quality of their milk, which will hopefully increase the payout they get for it.” 

Also involved in Innovation Zone are: Agri-Optics, Andweeder, ASB, FarmIQ, Hyundai IONIQ, Massey University and Sheep Milk New Zealand. 

 – Stuff

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