Agribusiness | Agtech ideas sprouting up

INNOVATION: Agritech company WaterSave is just one of the startups using SproutX to develop and grow their new business in North Queensland which aims to provide farmers with affordable monitoring tools.
INNOVATION: Agritech company WaterSave is just one of the startups using SproutX to develop and grow their new business in North Queensland which aims to provide farmers with affordable monitoring tools.

I often hear of technology ideas and innovation in agribusiness, but if I have an idea where do I start to get an idea off the ground?

Traditionally most startup ideas in the agribusiness space have gone off-shore to access foreign funding and the opportunity to develop ideas overseas.

An alternative to off-shore or foreign funding now exists in the Agtech sector in Australia. SproutX is an innovation hub and startup accelerator designed specifically for the Agtech sector; the first of its kind in Australia. SproutX focuses on nurturing startups and entrepreneurs to help transform the country’s $60 billion agriculture sector by helping to solve a broad range of problems in the industry, using innovative solutions.

The core focus of SproutX is about bringing together the entire Agtech ecosystem across Australia into one place. This includes government, corporate, investment, entrepreneurs, industry, and of course the most important stakeholder; the farmer.

A great example of the business ideas coming through SproutX is WaterSave.

WaterSave is a North Queensland startup, and currently farmers there are under massive pressure from governments and environmental groups to reduce the impact their fertilisers are having on the health of the Great Barrier Reef.

WaterSave spent 12 months meeting with farmers, and determined that they were committed to protecting the environment. What farmers lack however, is affordable monitoring tools to show them exactly what outputs their farms are producing.

When farmers are told by regulators to reduce their nitrate runoff by 80 per cent, the first question they ask is, “80 per cent of what?”

WaterSave has developed technology to assist in reducing the water and power consumption levels on farms.

By installing and combining in-field micro weather stations and soil moisture sensors, farmers are alerted when paddocks are sufficiently irrigated. Solutions are extremely affordable, as the sensors do not require SIM cards, dramatically reducing monitoring costs. In addition, the sensors can monitor nitrate levels, which assists in minimising fertiliser usage and the associated impacts on the environment.

For more information on this or to ask a question please email me at albury@crowehorwath.com.au.

Any information in this article has been prepared without taking into account your personal circumstances. You should seek professional advice before acting on any material. While reasonable care is taken in the preparation of this information to the extent allowed by legislation, Crowe Horwath (Aust) Pty Ltd ABN 84 006 466 351, accepts no liability whatsoever for reliance on it.