New drive for agricultural technology in Western Australia

| February 24, 2018

Nine Western Australian agtech companies have been given the opportunity to take their technology development to the next level by participating in the State’s first agtech-focused accelerator program.

The HARVEST Agtech Accelerator program will support companies developing new and innovative technologies with the potential to help WA’s agriculture and food industries, providing solutions to support increased production, drive efficiencies and support food security and traceability.

A new precision farming approach, wind power as an alternative energy source for irrigation, using food technology to turn insects into food for human consumption and the use of drones are among the technologies chosen to be part of the program.

The program will be delivered by Agristart, with local and international experts to mentor and provide advice and valuable networks to participating companies.

The nine-week program will focus on accelerating the development of the business to prepare for commercialisation and investment, culminating with a pitch event where each company will pitch their concept to a panel of experts.

The program is supported by the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development.

Launching the programme, the state’s Agriculture and Food Minister Alannah MacTiernan said “We want to create an environment to support businesses to develop their ideas, technologies, business models and commercialise their products in global markets.

“Advancing technology and innovation is essential to support the State’s food producers, processors and distributors to increase the value of our food production.

“Our local agtech companies have the opportunity to come up with innovative technology-based solutions to make our agriculture and food industry more efficient, and capitalise on opportunities in growing export markets.”

Companies participating in the HARVEST Agtech Accelerator programme include:

Convergio are applying the latest technologies in computer vision, machine learning and data analytics to develop next generation solutions for virtual simulation and economic modelling to enable farmers to improve yields, extend capacity, diversify products, enter new markets and create employment in regional areas.

GeoMoby technology provides cost effective solutions to several problems in agriculture by coupling of real-time data with accurate position information, leading to efficient analysis of large amounts of geospatial data to enable several applications including livestock tracking, fencing automation, lone worker tracking and farm mapping.

Grubs Up
Grubs Up is WA’s first edible insect farm, providing an alternative to beef and lamb as a protein source for human food and animal feed. Grubs Up aims to scale up insect farming that is sustainable with a zero waste system, with minimal environmental impact.

Identification of rhizobia, the critical soil bacteria needed for legumes to provide nitrogen to the soil, can be expensive and time-consuming. The MALDIID technology provides rapid and efficient rhizobia identification without the need to culture the bacteria, allowing farmers to manage their legume crops and pastures more effectively.

Mapizy’s machine learning platform can rapidly process satellite, drone and terrestrial imagery data and create accurate inventory of crops, trees, weeds, pests and diseases. Equipped with this new type of information, agriculture businesses can make better decisions and improve performance.

P&A Pan
P&A Pan are a second generation, family run business that has traditionally grown fruit and vegetables. Their new venture involves soilless micro herbs grown in a sea container within a controlled environment, with the goal to be chemical free and use less water.

Precision Agronomics Australia
Precision Agronomics is focused on improving agricultural practises by developing customised soil mapping, data processing and machinery control solutions that help solve the practical problems for the world’s farmers, such as reducing input and labour costs, optimising crop yield and quality, while minimising adverse environmental effects.

Scientific Aerospace
Scientific Aerospace is focused on designing and producing world-leading high precision aerial surveying solutions. Aerial surveying of soil and crop health will support farmers to identify plant vigour, pests, diseases and soil water content.

Windturbine is looking to solve issues with remote water pumping requirements for agriculture using renewable energy sources. The Windturbine solution combines wind and solar along with battery storage to provide a 24-hour pump on demand solution to remote irrigation.