Agtech startups sprouting

IN DEMAND: Crowe Horwath's general manager agribusiness Sam Trethewey, community operations manager Julia Waite and SproutX accelerator director, Andrew Lai are committed to promoting the growth of agtech.
IN DEMAND: Crowe Horwath's general manager agribusiness Sam Trethewey, community operations manager Julia Waite and SproutX accelerator director, Andrew Lai are committed to promoting the growth of agtech.

I’ve heard a lot of talk about agtech, what is it and how is it going to help farmers?

Agtech (agricultural technology) is simply about applying technology to the agriculture industry to deliver more efficient and innovative ways of farming. 

And when it comes to applying it, I believe it’s time for a little less talk, and a lot more action.

For too long, the need for ‘innovation’ in agriculture has been spewing from the lips of politicians to industry leaders, but we’re not seeing enough tangible results on farm.

Agtech is the biggest driver of innovation in our industry, and it's time to get serious about it.

The need is soaring, firstly due to demand from consumers for more food to be produced with less inputs. Secondly, more and more farmers are demanding agtech simply because it better enables them to make their business more efficient.

So what’s being done about it?

Over the past few years we’ve seen a growing number of agtech incubators and accelerator programs pop up across the country which are helping agtech entrepreneurs accelerate their business’ growth to commercialise as soon as possible.

One of these accelerator programs is SproutX, a joint venture between Findex (the parent company of Crowe Horwath) and the National Farmers Federation.

It’s an innovation hub and startup accelerator designed specifically for the Agtech sector – the first of its kind in Australia.

What does that mean? Simply, we provide capital and support to entrepreneurs and startups in Australian agriculture, and it’s working.

Here are a few examples of the technology we’re seeing. 

... time for a little less talk, and a lot more action.

IoTAg and WaterSave are two leading startups that are driving real change on Australian farms. IoTAg is developing a smart cattle ear tag that enables cattle farmers to track cattle over large distances, monitor pasture utilisation and key breeding-related events, and alert them to illnesses and births. 

Watersave is delivering an affordable, automated irrigation solution along with other on-farm monitoring and data collection. And all without common internet connectivity. Their remote customers have reduced irrigation costs by up to 30 per cent, saved labour units and also reduced nutrient and volume of chemicals applied to crops.

It’s an exciting time for the agriculture industry.

To find out more about SproutX, visit www.sproutx.com.au