PF Olsen Nursery Wins Innovation Award

PF Olsen picked up the Innovation of the Year Award at the recent Nursery and Growers Association Annual conference in Palmerston North. The award was for the design, construction and application of a new machine to top containerised Radiata pine tree-stocks growing in our nursery at Waiuku.

The master-mind behind the innovation is Kevin Haine, PF Olsen Nursery Manager, and it's a great acknowledgement of the good old NZ #8 wire mentality. Kevin utilised equipment and materials that were readily at hand which meant he didn't need to invest large amounts of capital to get a great result.

"This approach is tending to be lost with the new generation as kids become less hands-on and physical, and more into the virtual and digital worlds of mobile phones, laptops and computer games. It is this sort of capability which is an important part of being a Kiwi", points out Kevin, "It sets us apart and gives us a real competitive advantage."

The innovation is an over-grown lawn mower that is suspended above the rows of tree-stocks on a 12 meter beam. Its wide cutting swathe means it can top many rows of tree-stocks in a single pass along the rails on which it travels.

This new machine has reduced the time it takes to top the tree-stocks from 50 hours to less than one hour, meaning topping can occur more often, resulting in higher crop yields, lower disease levels and higher quality tree-stocks. On top of all that, it is expected that costs will be lowered by around $50,000 per year.

Kevin comes from a do-it-yourself family and credits his dad for encouraging him to create, fix and modify things. Congratulations Kevin, we are sure your dad would be proud of what you have achieved, and PF Olsen is certainly appreciative of your application of simple, but highly effective innovation.