IMAGINE this: an app on your phone that alerts you when moisture levels are low in a paddock, and then allows you, with a click of a button, to schedule your automated irrigation system.
That’s the goal behind the Kelpie App, an agri-tech start-up keen to provide farmers a one-stop shop with all their digital, data and farm-monitoring needs.
Kelpie, is one of five innovative concepts that are part of the Brave Pitch competition, which will be judged at the Brave New World – Ag to 2030, the Ag Institute Australia (AIA) National Conference at the end of this month.
Kelpie App was developed during an agri-tech
competition in Wagga Wagga by Tim Klapdor, Rob Stone and Ben Atkinson.
Mr Klapdor said you could think of the app like the Google Home for farmers.
“What we are aiming to do is a build a platform to aggregate some of the systems and services that are coming online in agriculture,” he said.
“At the moment, if you look at the ag-tech space, there are a lot of individual products that do an individual thing.
“But a farmer doesn’t do one thing; they do a whole bunch of stuff and have a complex workflow.”
Mr Klapdor said at the moment, tech-savvy producers keen to be at the top of their game would need to download about 15 apps on their phone.
“The idea is if we can bring all of those (concepts) into a simple application, then farmers would only have to learn how to use one app,” he said.
“It will move beyond giving farmers a tool to make a decision, to allowing that decision to be put into action.
“What we are aiming for is for a farmer to get an alert that the moisture probe in their paddock is saying it’s too dry, then they can automatically turn on their irrigation system.”
Mr Klapdor has worked in the tech industry for more than a decade.
He shrugged off the idea that farmers weren’t keen to embrace new technology compared with other industries.
“From our experience working with farmers, I think the willingness is there,” he said.
“But I think a lot of what is on the market isn’t proven, so they are quite cautious. And understandably so. There is a lot at stake money wise – they have skin in the game.”
AIA vice-chair and organiser of Brave Pitch Guy Coleman praised the short-listed finalists who would be presenting at this month’s conference.
“They made it through some tough competition, testament to the incredible ag-tech ecosystem in Australia,” he said.
“Each of the five short-listed start-ups will now have the opportunity to pitch their idea to the conference audience and judging panel, with a chance at $1000, access to the Thought For Food (TFF) Global Community, international investors and a free session with a patent attorney.”
CONFERENCE: The five participants were short-listed from a strong field of applicants, according to Guy Coleman, AIA vice-chair and organiser of the Brave Pitch.