UP COUN TRY

Idealog - - FOOD FIGHT -

With global pop­u­la­tion growth, wa­ter scarcity and the de­sire for food se­cu­rity high on the l i st of po­lit­i­cal con­cerns, the agtech sec­tor i s boom­ingg and at­tract­ing plenty of i nvest­ment. Here are some of the l ocal com­pa­nies i mprov­ing the way we pro­duce food. Bi­o­lu­mic

Bi­o­lu­mic, based in Palmer­ston North, has pi­o­neered Smart Light Ar­ray Tech­nol­ogy to in­crease crop yields, traits and re­sis­tance to pests and dis­ease when ap­plied to seeds, seedlings, and plants.

The com­pany’s UV light­ing tech­nol­ogy is also able to in­fuse plants with cer­tain flavour and colour pro­files prior to har­vest re­sult­ing in tastier and bet­ter- look­ing ( i.e. more mar­ketable) pro­duce.

Suc­cess­ful tri­als un­der­taken by Bi­o­lu­mic in New Zealand, Aus­tralia and the US with some of the largest let­tuce, basil and broc­coli grow­ers and pro­ces­sors have shown its tech­nol­ogy im­proves yields by be­tween 10 and 26 per­cent and makes t hem hardier and big­ger.

Bio­con­sor­tia

A New Zealand com­pany based in the US, Bio­Con­sor­tia is de­vel­op­ing a li­brary of highly ef­fec­tive plant mi­crobes for in­creas­ing agri­cul­tural yields and un­der­stand­ing how mi­crobes that live in­side plant tis­sues di­rectly af­fect the way a plant sur­vives and grows.

The com­pany has de­vel­oped a rev­o­lu­tion­ary Ad­vanced Mi­cro­bial Se­lec­tion ( AMS) process for crop trait en­hance­ment and its BioDis­cov­ery plat­form holds one of the world’s largest col­lec­tions of pre- screened and char­ac­terised mi­cro-or­gan­isms for crop trait en­hance­ment com­pris­ing over 45,000 mi­crobes

The com­pany has a pipe­line of prod­ucts for in­creased fer­til­izer use, growth im­prove­ment and other ben­e­fi­cial crop traits.

Com­pac

Comp ac Sort­ing Equip­ment is a lead­ing sup­plier of sort­ing and pack­ing so­lu­tions to the global pro­duce in­dus­try.

Com­pac sorters use dig­i­tal cam­eras and soft­ware to an­a­lyse and sort fresh pro­duce based on weight, size, shape, colour and sur­face blem­ishes and t hen de­liv­ers itto the pack­ing ar­eas.

The tech­nol­ogy also pro­vides trace abil­ity so­lu­tions to pack houses where pro­duce can be tracked from its or­chard block across the pack­ing line and into bags, while records are stored for re­call.

Robotics Plus

Tau­ranga- based Robotics Plus spe­cialises in de­vel­op­ing au­ton­o­mous fruit pack­ing robots for the ap­ple and ki­wifruit in­dus­try.

The au­to­mated ap­ple pack­ing machines place ap­ple sin trays "colour up" with t he stems aligned, us­ing sen­sors, soft­ware and elec­tro me­chan­i­cal tech­nol­ogy, and are ex­pected to re­move some of the mo­not­o­nous work that ap­ple pack houses find dif­fi­cult to staff.

The com­pany is also de­vel­op­ing au­to­mated fruit pol­li­na­tion and har­vest­ing tech­nol­ogy and a self-driv­ing ve­hi­cle for or­chards. Robotics Plus has five au­to­mated pack­ers op­er­at­ing in Nel­son and has plans to en­ter the United States and other mar­kets.

Hive­mind

Hive­mind de­vel­ops bee­hive mon­i­tors t hat t r ack hive weight, hu­mid­ity, tem­per­a­ture, lo­ca­tion and re­motely mon­i­tor hives from any­where. Its re­mote hive mon­i­tor­ing sys­tems en­able bee keep­ers to re­motely track and op­ti­mise hive pro­duc­tiv­ity ( honey pro­duc­tion), hive health and in­crease se­cu­rity.

Hive mind’ s flag ship sys­tem in­volves scales that sit un­der a hive and a satel­lite or wire­less hub – t he “brain soft he oper­a­tion ”– that mea­sure t he hive’s weight, a key in­di­ca­tor de­ter­min­ing whether the nec­tar and honey flow is on.

CropLogic

Christchurch-based pre­ci­sion agri­cul­ture firm CropLogic is built on tech­nol­ogy de­vel­oped over 30 years out of Plant & Food Re­search. It gath­ers data via low-pow­ered wire­less net­works and satel­lite sys­tems from in-field sen­sors and pro­vides grow­ers with real-time pre­scrip­tions for the ap­pli­ca­tion of crop in­puts.

Crop Logic, which re­cently closed its $2 mil­lion pre-I PO cap­i­tal rais­ing, has con­ducted field tri­als with pota­toes in China, USA, Aus­tralia and New Zealand with Pep­siCo, Lamb We­ston, Sim­plot and McCain Foods. And it’ s set to move into other com­modi­ties like corn, wheat, soy­bean and cot­ton.

Agri­gate

Agri­gate isa joint ven­ture be­tween Fon­terra and t he Live­stock Im­prove­ment Cor­po­ra­tion that pro­vides New Zealand dairy farm­ers with a dig­i­tal dash­board that ag­gre­gates data from mul­ti­ple sources to en­able farm­ers to make bet­ter on-farm de­ci­sions about herd and pas­ture man­age­ment.

Agri­gate as­sesses the in­ter­ac­tion be­tween dif­fer­ent on-farm fac­tors, such as weather con­di­tions, an­i­mal health, milk pro­duc­tion, fin an­cia ls, pas­ture cover and fer­tiliser ap­pli­ca­tions, and al­lows farm­ers to bench­mark those fac­tors on a scale they haven’ t been able to in t he past.

Farmshed Labs

Breed­ing cows isn’ t art, it’ s sci­ence. And Farmshed Labs’ wear­able t ech is mak­ing that sci­ence eas­ier than ever be­fore. Flash mate is a heat de­tec­tion de­vice that lets farm­ers know when their fe­male cows are in heat and avail­able for breed­ing. The de­vice is at­tached to a co won their right flank just be­low the hip bone, and when they are in heat, it flashes red for about 26 hours, giv­ing farm­ers time to get things hap­pen­ing on the calv­ing front.

Ubco

The Ubco 2x2 elec­tric bike was first launched at Fiel­d­ays in 2014, and was ini­tially de­signed as a two-wheel util­ity ve­hi­cle that could re­place farm mo­tor­bikes due to be­ing quiet( it doesn’t dis­turb life stock ), light( eas­ily trans­port able and lifted over fences) and easy to main­tain ( no clutches or chains). The de­mand for a recre­ational, on-road ver­sion from users and in­dus­tries such as tourism and law en­force­ment has meant another ver­sion of the bike isin the works.

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