FOUR innovative businesses were rewarded at the AgriStart showcase in Perth last week that demonstrated the newest technology the agricultural sector has to offer.
The HARVEST programs focus on late-stage start-ups that are looking to upscale their business, attract investment, develop networks and partnerships or explore new export markets.
With 15 start-up companies showcasing their best technology, after completing one of the AgriStart HARVEST programs, only a few were fortunate enough to win awards.
The Business Growth award went to Stratus Imaging that uses spatial data and the internet of things (IoT) solutions, along with custom analytics, to provide powerful insights into removing yield limiting factors and costs in agricultural settings.
Stratus Imaging founder Jonathan Smith said by using data captured from calibrated and specialised sensors, the technology could allow for on-farm decisions with limited risk.
“By applying custom analytics we can reduce unforeseen issues through early detection,” Mr Smith said.
“We provide repeatable data sets on a customised platform that can be analysed with confidence to track trends, analyse yield, weather, soil profile and moisture, providing a powerful and actionable insight.”
The Export award went to Latitude 28, an experience-driven and evidence-based Australian beef and lamb exporter.
Founder James Williamson said Latitude 28 had merged the worlds of advanced data analytics, e-commerce, social media marketing, the Chinese online delivery revolution, block chain technology and high-tech supply chain innovation.
“This winning combination is opening borders and humanising interactions with the consumers in China’s $120 billion online grocery industry,” Mr Williamson said.
The Regional Innovation award went to WA Pure Honey founder Matt Colvin for his push into making honey production more efficient.
Mr Colvin said WA Pure Honey focused on making honey and other bee products with greater efficiency and lower costs.
The final award went to Livestock Pricing and its founder Robert Kelly.
Mr Kelly found his inspiration for Livestock Pricing after 10 years at Daily Grain, where he was part of the grain pricing live stream.
Livestock Pricing has now become an avenue for both buyers and producers to share pricing and information directly and efficiently.
Mr Kelly said the app gave producers updated information for livestock that wasn’t available anywhere else.
AgriStart managing director and co-founder Natasha Ayers said the HARVEST programs focused on technology to help grow the food industry through skills development, engagement and innovation.
“I just can’t believe the turn out at this showcase,” Ms Ayers said.
“It just goes to show how many people are interested and invested in the future of agricultural technologies.”
The HARVEST 2.0 program, which finished last week, featured two programs.
The Agtech Accelerator program was held in Perth for three months and the Residential Intensive program was held at the Muresk Institute, Northam, for one week and targeted regional agribusinesses.
“AgriStart is uniquely positioned to connect disparate parts of the Australian agtech sector to foster growth and innovation through facilitated collaboration, training and mentoring,” Ms Ayers said.
“Our programs and initiatives focus on facilitating; collaborations, capacity and capability building, investment attraction into potential export businesses, knowledge-sector job creation across rural Australia, raising the profile of regional innovation and helping build towards a world-class Australian agtech sector.
Guest speaker and Agthentic chief executive officer Sarah Nolet said program participants demonstrated successful concepts which could be used in the agricultural sector.
“There is great opportunity for agtech,” Ms Nolet said.
“Agriculture is changing, consumers are changing and technology is changing, which gives ag-tech an opportunity to meet the demands of consumers and fix problems in our food systems.”
Ms Nolet also outlined how Australia’s strong agricultural base and the country’s international strength in the sector allowed for strong research and development into technology.
She said there was a need now more than ever for start-up programs and ideas to enhance the ag-tech ecosystem and AgriStart was one of those opportunities.