The Pitch to Farmers competition at the AdvanceAg conference yesterday, displayed genuine technology solutions which solve real challenges faced by farmers and the audience vote crowned Bitwise Agronomy the winner.
There were just under 30 finalists who registered their interest with 10 selected to present to a panel of judges in July and from there five finalists were picked to present their ideas to the audience.
MacroGroup's national sales manager Clayton Graham awarded $10000 to an agtech start-up company who had five minutes to present their product and the audience casted their vote as to who they'd like to see win the money.
Bitwise Agronomy's co founder Fiona Turner created a platform which works collaboratively with GoPro technology, providing growers with actual count images and analysis tools to guide crop management decisions.
Ms Turner, determined to keep investments in AgTech on a local level, said the prize money would allow Bitwise to hire an intern agronomist in SA to use the system and help people uptake the technology in the field..
"It's super exciting for us to win and events like this validates what we are doing," she said.
"I would like to thank our existing users all around the world who are assisting us to collaborate data and providing us feedback, the investors, and the team of 15 at Bitwise, who are passionate about what they do, without those people, we would not have a great product.
"We have 100 farms globally currently using Bitwise which has occurred in the last 18-months and we aim to have thousands of farms using the product every year.
"The product is lead by industry leaders and will solve real world problems like wastage, feeding the world and sustainable farming.
"We hope to make an impact to assist driving down costs, help with climate change and supplying a durable product that will last for many years," she said.
Bitwise Agronomy wanted to help farmers know what they are going to grow through running artificial intelligence through videos to assist it in understanding what is going on with plant growth over a larger scale than visible to the farmer who doesn't have the labour abilities to look at every individual plant or section on their orchid.
"A lot of growers are making really critical business decisions about the health of the crop, deployment of labour and management of the crop, based on 10 plants per hectare where typically growers have over 10000 plants per hectare," Ms Turner said.
Ms Turner felt she was in a good position to create an agtech solution after purchasing and experiencing the pain of a vineyard which was out of control in Tasmania.
The program works collaboratively with a GoPro camera which growers attaches to their existing machinery and while they are working, mulching, spraying and similar the GoPro collects video, without additional work of the grower, which can be uploaded to the platform trained to see like humans.
It counts, measures and scouts a large area over a short period of time of which the data is then interpreted into graphs, maps and reports so the farmer can make appropriate changes through actionable items.
Production in a strawberry crop and variability in a vintage crop were used as examples of the Bitwise platform in use and the savings farmers made from proactively using this solution.
The shortlisted finalists who also presented their agtech solutions included, Winely, presented by Abby Hyde, Farmbot Monitoring Solutions by Andrew Coppin, Woven Optics Australia by Vicky Staikopolous, and Onside Pty Ltd, Guy Davidson.
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