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Our History

Where we began

Lincoln Agritech was founded in 1964. Then known as the New Zealand Agricultural Engineering Institute (NZAEI), it was formed to undertake applied research to accelerate agricultural engineering innovation by New Zealand’s primary sector.

Financed primarily from Ministry of Agriculture grants, early research concentrated on tractor safety frame testing, fencing, carcass disposal, farm water supply, and agricultural aviation. In 1979, NZAEI opened a second research division in Ruakura, Hamilton.

In 1994, NZAEI merged with the Kellogg Farm Management Unit and the Centre for Resource Management to form Lincoln Ventures Ltd. In 2012, the company changed its name to Lincoln Agritech Ltd to reflect its unique position as an independent agritech-focused science and engineering research company, owned by Lincoln University.

From its beginnings as primarily a heavy machinery testing facility, Lincoln Agritech has expanded to become a leading innovator for the agricultural, industrial, and environmental sectors. Many technology innovations developed at Lincoln Agritech have been adopted by the primary sector in New Zealand and internationally.

Examples include:

  • IRRICADTM is the global leader in irrigation design software, developed by irrigation engineers at Lincoln Agritech and sold in more than 90 countries.
  • Real-time non-contact soil moisture sensors are delivering up to 20% water savings to growers in the USA through licensee Autonomous Pivot’s AI-driven systems.
  • HydroMetrics nitrate sensors are being deployed around the world, enabling users to become guardians of the land and water.
  • Our researchers are even working on a new modality for medical and veterinary imaging that enables identification of bone and tissue damage at millimetre resolution.

Read about our first 50 years in this booklet.