TECH COM­PA­NIES KICK­START BIG IDEAS

Countryman - - FRONT PAGE - Cally Dupe

The launch of WA’s first ag-tech ac­cel­er­a­tor pro­gram has ush­ered in a new era for agri­cul­tural in­no­va­tion.

Nine ag-tech com­pa­nies, rang­ing from small to medium size en­ter­prises, were al­most mid­way through the nine-week HAR­VEST Agtech Ac­cel­er­a­tor pro­gram this week, which started on March 2.

Founded by Perth-based busi­ness Agris­tart, owned by Cun­derdin-born Natasha Ay­ers and her busi­ness part­ner Peter Ross­deutchser, the pro­gram aims to help com­pa­nies un­der­stand the needs of the broader agri­cul­tural sec­tor and de­velop their prod­uct.

It was de­signed to fast-track busi­nesses with an agri­cul­ture-re­lated tech­nol­ogy idea.

HAR­VEST par­tic­i­pants spend one day a week in Perth, at­tend­ing sem­i­nars and work­shops with a range of ex­perts in ex­port path­ways, dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing, in­vest­ment, and more.

Th­ese are the nine HAR­VEST par­tic­i­pants se­lected to take part in the free pro­gram.

Con­ver­gio

Rep­re­sen­ta­tive: Gavin Stack Perth-based in­dus­trial in­tel­li­gence com­pany Con­ver­gio claims to ap­ply the lat­est tech­nol­ogy in com­puter vi­sion, ma­chine learn­ing and data an­a­lyt­ics.

The com­pany de­vel­ops next-gen­er­a­tion so­lu­tions for vir­tual sim­u­la­tion and eco­nomic mod­el­ling. It has plat­forms suit­able for op­er­a­tions, met­al­lurgy and process op­ti­mi­sa­tion.

The com­pany hopes to help farm­ers im­prove yields, ex­tend ca­pac­ity, di­ver­sify prod­ucts, en­ter new mar­kets and cre­ate em­ploy­ment in re­gional ar­eas.

GeoMoby

Rep­re­sen­ta­tives: Chris Bau­dia and Barath Va­sude­van

GeoMoby is a cloud-based lo­ca­tion in­tel­li­gence so­lu­tion provider, which cou­ples real-time data with ac­cu­rate po­si­tion in­for­ma­tion.

The com­pany prides it­self on anal­y­sis of large amounts of geospa­tial data.

The com­pany has sev­eral ap­pli­ca­tions in­clud­ing live­stock track­ing, fenc­ing au­to­ma­tion, lone worker track­ing and farm map­ping.

Grubs Up

Rep­re­sen­ta­tive: Paula Pow­nall The en­tre­pre­neur be­hind WA’s first ed­i­ble in­sect farm hopes to pro­vide an al­ter­na­tive pro­tein source for hu­man food and an­i­mal feed.

Ms Pownell plans to use the course to help her scale up her in­sect farm­ing op­er­a­tion.

The busi­ness aims to be sus­tain­able with a zero-waste sys­tem and min­i­mal en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pact.

MALDIID

Rep­re­sen­ta­tive: So­phie De Meyer Based at Mur­doch Univer­sity, MALDIID is a root nod­ule bac­te­ria iden­ti­fi­ca­tion ser­vice for farm­ers and in­sti­tutes alike.

Sci­en­tists work to iden­tify and test for rhi­zo­bial bac­te­ria in legume pas­tures — es­sen­tial to pro­vide ni­tro­gen to the soil.

Rapid and ef­fi­cient rhi­zo­bia iden­ti­fi­ca­tion re­moves the need to cul­ture the bac­te­ria, al­low­ing farm­ers to man­age legumes more ef­fi­ciently.

Mapizy

Rep­re­sen­ta­tive: Me­hdi Ra­van­bakhsh

Mapizy’s ma­chine learn­ing plat­form pro­cesses satel­lite, drone and ter­res­trial im­agery data to cre­ate an in­ven­tory of crops, trees, weeds, pests and dis­eases.

The com­pany, based at UWA School of Com­puter Sci­ence, is fo­cused on change de­tec­tion through im­age data.

P&A Pan

Rep­re­sen­ta­tive: Vange Pana­gi­o­tidis A sec­ond-gen­er­a­tion, fam­ily-run busi­ness, P&A Pan has tra­di­tion­ally grown fruit and veg­eta­bles in WA.

Its new ven­ture in­volves soil-less mi­cro herbs grown in a sea con­tainer in a con­trolled en­vi­ron­ment, with the goal to be chem­i­cal-free and to use less wa­ter.

Pre­ci­sion Agro­nomics Aus­tralia

Rep­re­sen­ta­tive: Frank Em­den Pre­ci­sion Agro­nomics is fo­cused on im­prov­ing agri­cul­tural prac­tices by de­vel­op­ing cus­tomised soil map­ping, data pro­cess­ing and ma­chin­ery con­trol so­lu­tions to help solve the prac­ti­cal prob­lems for the world's farm­ers.

The busi­ness hopes to help farm­ers re­duce in­put and labour costs, op­ti­mis­ing crop yield and qual­ity, while min­imis­ing ad­verse en­vi­ron­men­tal ef­fects.

Sci­en­tific Aero­space

Rep­re­sen­ta­tives: Ge­off Trow­bridge and Josh Port­lock

Sci­en­tific Aero­space is fo­cused on de­sign­ing and pro­duc­ing worldlead­ing high pre­ci­sion aerial sur­vey­ing so­lu­tions.

Aerial sur­vey­ing of soil and crop health will help farm­ers to iden­tify plant vigour, pests, dis­eases and soil wa­ter con­tent.

WindTur­bine

Rep­re­sen­ta­tive: Joshua Letcher A wind tur­bine man­u­fac­turer, Windtur­bine pro­duced its first pro­to­types in 2016.

It aims 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.

Pre­ci­sion Agro­nomics in the field.

MALDIID di­rec­tor Dr Sofie De Meyer, right, and re­search stu­dent Ge­orgina Stagg, left, es­tab­lish­ing glasshouse ex­per­i­ments for Rhizo-ID anal­y­sis. A test is now avail­able to pro­duc­ers to dis­cover what rhi­zo­bia ex­ist, and if the strain is op­ti­mal for...

The P&A Pan team.

A Sci­en­tific Aero­space de­vice.

Pic­ture: Michael Wil­son

Amanda Abou Rjeily and Paula Pow­nall of Grubs Up.

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