AgTech products, including remote sensing, robotics and predictive software, are supporting horticulturalists to scale production while reducing risks.
From planting and transplanting, through to monitoring plant health, managing pest and disease and forecasting yield, a range of tools are available. These can not only reduce costs and maximise yields, they can also help secure market access in advance.
Robotics have revolutionised horticulture, with a lot of heavy lifting and data collection now carried out by automated or remotely controlled machinery. This includes:
Transplanting germinated seeds
Transporting plants around the farm
Constant plant surveillance and weed management
Gathering key farm data including topography, weather conditions and soil types
Recognising water and nutrient deficiencies
Diagnosing disease and identifying pests
Growers can input this data into software tools that can predict flowering, fruit set, pest incursions, harvest timings and yield, supporting decisions around thinning, pruning, irrigating and harvesting. This information supports decision-making on to increase input efficiency, plan work schedules and secure market access ahead of time.
AgTech can also be used in planting and crop management to optimise the planting configuration and choose the appropriate plant varieties for conditions at specific locations.
The use of robotics to automate labour-intensive processes not only reduces production costs, it also reduces potential injury to workers and improves health and safety.