AgTech Harvest: The biggest news stories from April 2021

In this edition of the AgTechHarvest newsletter...

  • A feature on the Food Agility Summit 2021, with a spotlight on insights from the carbon markets and sustainability panel.

  • The latest in agtech news:

    • How to make the right agtech choices for your agribusiness

    • Patience and planning pays off for Wilmot Cattle Co’s carbon deal

    • Digital farm analytics app helping to solve agtech’s integration issue

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The AgTech Finder Team

We're adding new vendors and products to AgTech Finder every week - check out what's new in our online searchable Directory.

Food Agility Summit shines a spotlight on carbon markets for farmers

Agtech, carbon markets and the latest in agrifood research featured prominently at the recent Food Agility Summit 2021, with leading agriculture, food and technology experts taking to the virtual stage to talk about the here, now, and future of food. In this week’s feature we look at a key panel presentation at the summit which focused on the hot topics of sustainability, climate change and carbon markets, with benefits to the ag sector a key topic of discussion.

The panel brought a diversity of experience and views to the table, with a premium lineup that featured:

  •     Gordon Cairns, Chair, Woolworths Group

  •     Molly Harriss Olson, Fairtrade Australia New Zealand

  •     Tony Mahar, National Farmers’ Federation

  •     Raphael Wood, Market Advisory Group

  •     Sonia Nazaretian, Microsoft

  •     Facilitator: Mara Bun, Food Agility CRC

Read the full AgTech Finder feature article here.

Image: Queensland Country Life

How to make the right agtech choices for your agribusiness

Farmers are faced with a multitude of agtech solutions. Finding the right one is all about knowing to ask the right questions. Agtech promises to help farmers make faster and better-informed decisions. That’s all well and good, but how can you be confident that one of the many new high-tech solutions will meet your individual business needs?

Agtech, particularly when it comes to animal production, is still in its early days in Australia. While cropping businesses now have machines with integrated agtech solutions, those in animal production don’t have the same comprehensive options at their fingertips. Instead, there’s a large and growing number of agtech start-ups offering a selection of devices and apps that might, or might not, marry up with other devices.

At a more basic level, the apps can help with expense and yield tracking, from an individual paddock to whole farm planning, or even genomic selection and measured and visual trait data recording. Some are free while others require a subscription.

More complex are the innovative solutions that rely on the Internet of Things (IoT) – like weather stations, water-level monitoring (of dams, tanks, etc), virtual fencing and animal tracking. The great thing about IoT is that it offers cheaper and more reliable connectivity options over the long term compared to WiFi, which can be problematic in remote areas.

In fact, much of this emerging agtech appears to have amazing potential. But how do you get your head around it all and decide if any solution is actually fit for purpose? Many require a significant investment of money and time, which raises the question: will they meet your ROI objectives at the end of the day?

Read the full article at NAB.

Patience and planning pays off for Wilmot Cattle Co’s carbon deal

Wilmot Cattle Co’s pioneering carbon credit deal with global tech giant, Microsoft has caught the attention of farmers, investors, corporates and everyone in between – proving that carbon farming can in fact be profitable, when measured.

“We capture an enormous amount of data, and it’s now effectively paid off,” said Wilmot Cattle Co’s Managing Director, Stuart Austin who earned a $500,000 carbon credit deal with global tech giant, Microsoft in January this year.

Stuart and wife Trisha Cowley’s long-term commitment to regenerative agriculture has been at the core of this sale, coupled with agritech that’s armed the business with the data to prove their position – offering a customisable blueprint for any farming business, anywhere in the world.

Measuring soil carbon for the past ten years, in the same nine locations across both farms, has been their greatest asset, explained Stuart. Since 2011, Wilmot Cattle Co has increased soil organic carbon rates from 2.5% to 4.5% today, with the goal of achieving 6% by 2023.

This extensive data library is what sparked the interest of California-based Regen Network, who brokered the 25-year private-market carbon credit deal with Microsoft, with support from Armidale-based natural capital advisor, ImpactAg Partners.

By monetising 43,338 tonnes of CO2 equivalent, using a conversion of 3.67 tonnes of CO2 equivalent to 1 tonne of soil organic carbon, meant Wilmot Cattle Co had stored approximately 11,809 tonnes of soil carbon – that would have otherwise gone into the atmosphere.

Read the full article at evokeAg.

Digital farm analytics app helping to solve agtech’s integration issue

Phil Tickle co-founded Cibo Labs in 2018 as a data science company specialising in helping farmers make better use of new near-real-time satellite imagery, advanced analytics and their on-ground knowledge for a variety of applications.

The company has just launched a new service and App called MyFarmKey which enables farmers across the country to access and analyse 30 years of satellite imagery for their property, directly from their computer or mobile device within minutes for as little as $75.

They can create a unique digital farm record based on their individual land parcels, verify their data against LPA accreditation and land title, and generate auditable reports on trends in land condition indicators, including rainfall, seasonal groundcover and annual tree cover change.

Every property wanting to take advantage of the technologies will need a high quality digital farm map in future, he said, but most farms either do not have current mapping, and of those that do, there is a considerable variance in their quality and utility because of the methods used by different mapping software.

“It’s the rail gauge issue for AgTech that we have had to solve,” he said, referencing the problems that were caused in the 19th Century when each colony of Australia adopted their own railway guages instead of a single, standard system nationally.

The unique digital farm record created by MyFarmKey provides the starting point for AgTech systems to “talk to each other”, dramatically reducing onboarding costs and facilitating integration of specialist tools on behalf of the farmer.

Read the full article at Beef Central.

New in the AgTech Finder Directory

OutofBox Solutions

OutofBox Solutions has built solutions for the remote management of various on-farm tasks with devices currently available for feral animal control.