AgTech News Dashboard: 14 September 2020

In this edition of the news dashboard powered by AgTech Finder we look at scanning technology for meat processing, agtech funding for farmers, electronic identification (eID) for animal management, an Australian app helping farmers overseas, and a mid-year agtech investment report in the time of COVID.

Meat scanning technology delivers benefits to lamb producers

A scanning technology, commonly used by the medical industry, is being adopted by meat processors to improve on traditional human-based grading of meat. This paves the way for livestock producers to make more informed decisions, increasing productivity, and enhancing profitability.

DEXA (Dual Energy X-Ray Absorptiometry) is an objective measurement tool that can provide information on the lean meat, bone and fat composition of each carcase, which can be added to the existing eating quality carcase feedback provided by graders. This type of objective measurement technology is valuable because it can be used to better measure attributes to predict not only eating quality but also disease or contamination. Importantly, data can be fed back across the supply chain enabling data-based decision-making on the farm.

Read the full article.

Funding for SA livestock producers to adopt agtech

South Australian sheep and cattle producers can receive $10,000 State Government grants to embrace agtech on-farm, enabling use of data-based livestock management to help grow their business profitability.

The Livestock AgTech Adoption Rebate is part of the $7.5 million Red Meat and Wool Growth Program and is designed to encourage livestock producers to invest in new technology and obtain the necessary training and support to implement it successfully.

Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development David Basham said the rebate scheme is about increasing livestock sector productivity and profitability.

“The funds will support adoption of electronic identification equipment such as walk-over weighing systems, panel readers and auto drafters or remote monitoring sensors for water points and soil,” said Minister Basham.

“On-farm agtech is a key component for the future growth of our red meat and wool sectors particularly as the South Australian Beef Industry Blueprint indicates only one in five beef producers currently achieve greater than five percent return on assets.

“The rebate will support producers to implement priorities identified in their Farm AgTech Adoption Plans developed through the Livestock Enterprise Planning sessions.

“Following feedback received during recent drought forums, a rebate for pregnancy scanning services for sheep is also included in the scheme.”

Applications for the Livestock AgTech Adoption Rebate will close at 5pm on 31 March 2022, or whenever the funding allocation is exhausted.

First published as Driving AgTech adoption for livestock, Mirage News, 3 September 2020.

A rebate for pregnancy scanning services for sheep is also included in the South Australian scheme.

Australian News

Benefits of adopting Electronic Identification (eID) for sheep and cattle

Spending less time in the yard and reducing animal stress are a constant goal for producers. In a podcast and video from the SA Department of Primary Industries and Regions ‘Livestock Tech Talks’, Nathan Scott from Achieve Ag Solutions, discusses:

  • what eID is and how to best use it

  • the benefits of adopting eID in sheep and cattle enterprises

  • how capturing data via eID improves your farm management decisions.

Listen to the podcast and watch the video at the SA Department of Primary Industries and Regions ‘Livestock Tech Talks’ page.

First published as Episode 4: Benefits of adopting Electronic Identification (eID) for sheep and cattle, SA Department of Primary Industries and Regions.

Global News

Australian app could be a game-changer for Pakistani farmers

‘Apna paani’ is a new app launched to assist farmers challenged by declining groundwater levels in Pakistan. Apna paani means ‘our water’ in Urdu and has been developed by the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) to improve food security through better water management in the South Asian country.

Sheeraz Sindhu is a farmer in Punjab, Pakistan, and belongs to a family associated with agriculture for generations.

“This app is a terrific tool for me or any farmer,” Sheeraz said. “I just have to add my location and the app tells me all the details about the water and soil immediately.”

The farmers in the area input the water data including water usage and consumption, which is incorporated by the app and provides the overall water details to each farmer who has the app. Similarly, the soil data is provided to the farmer to help in determining the best farming practice in relation to the soil content.

Sheeraz says for a village farmer, it is quite cumbersome to collect soil samples and take it to a faraway lab.

“I have made long journeys to check the PH level, phosphorous content, and other properties of soil in order to workout water management and produce a better crop.”

According to Sheeraz, the app is now being increasingly used by farmers of other regions.

"More and more farmers from other villages are asking about this app which provides water and soil information; I am hoping it reaches other provinces soon."

“The app gives tools to improve the groundwater management to the Pakistani farmers, by being able to better monitor and report on the groundwater, quality and quantity,” ACIAR CEO Andrew Campbell said.

"The fundamental challenge is to try and bring groundwater use within sustainable limits.”

First published as ‘Terrific tool’ – the Australian app that could be a game changer for farmers in Pakistan, by SBS Urdu, 26 August 2020.

ACIAR CEO, Professor Andrew Campbell, meeting with Mr Ilyas, a citrus farmer in Pakistan. ACIAR/Kazmi Munawar

Agtech Investment News

AgriFoodTech investment still strong during COVID

AgFunder has recently released H1 ’20, their mid-year investment review for the AgriFoodTech Sector. The report breaks down investment trends in global farming and food tech sectors for the first half of 2020, and tracks investment trends over time by category and funding stage.

More than half the global investment dollars – $4.6bn of a total $8.8bn – went to ‘upstream’ initiatives, a group that includes ag biotech, farm management software, sensing and IoT, farm robotics and equipment, bioenergy and biomaterials and novel farming systems.

The report found COVID has necessitated huge changes in the way consumers shop and think about food, and this was reflected in the volume of investment across categories.

The top-funded sector was eGrocery, a ‘downstream’ category boosted by activity from COVID locked-down consumers. eGrocery accounted for 20% of all global agrifoodtech funding in the first half of 2020.

The second highest volume of funding was directed to Midstream Technologies. Midstream Tech supports food logistics, supply chains, and traceability. It is well on its way to beating 2019’s $2.1 billion in funding, owing to high demand in the current environment, where food provenance and safety are top of mind for individuals, organisations and governments.

Innovative Food, which includes the surging alt-protein segment, has already surpassed its total 2019 funding in the first half of the year. Rising consumer demand has played a key role, making it appealing to a wider variety of venture capitalists.

First published as AgFunder AgriFoodTech 2020 Mid-Year Investment Review by AgFunder.

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