A DIGITAL pulse classification system, a mechanical weeding system and multiple traceability projects were among nine recipients of state government ag tech funding, $700,000 in total, announced at McLaren Vale on Wednesday.
Funded through the AgTech Growth program, recipients received up to $100,000 in co-contributions which will help develop and commercialise their products.
Cropify, a start-up founded by wife and husband team Anna Falkiner and Andrew Hannon, is developing a smart classification system which uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to find defects and classify small red lentils.
They aim to expand to other pulses with the eventual goal of replacing the current subjective assessments used for pulse classification.
Beston Global Food Company received funding to help with their SA trials that will digitally capture the reduction in methane emissions from dairy cows on feed supplements, while Trust Provenance will use their funding to use traceability software to track the grain journey from paddock to the Coopers Brewery to make beer and eventually export barley to global brewers.
Primary Industries Minister Clare Scriven said SA farmers were known as some of the most innovative in the world and the funding would not only boost their ag tech projects, but provide benefits throughout the agricultural supply chain.
"It has been exciting reading about the innovative technologies the recipients are involved in and talking to them about what it means on the ground," Ms Scriven said.
"There are some incredible projects and to hear what it will mean to all the industries involved has been fantastic.
"The adoption of ag tech has the potential to make the most tremendous changes in agricultural productivity in our lifetimes.
"AgTech Growth funding will accelerate the development and commercialisation of innovative agricultural technologies and play a key role in solving pressing industry challenges."
Other funding recipients included Australasian Pork Research Institute, which is developing lab-on-a-chip sensing to objectively assess biomakers that are reflective of animal pain, health and wellbeing, with the aim to replace current costly and subjective assessments.
Flux Robotics is building and demonstrating a mechanical weeding system for the horticultural sector, with an aim to scale up for broadacre use.
Kangaroo Island-based Blue Farm Intelligence is developing a rapid design and software product prototype to trace oysters during their life cycle, as well as providing cool chain temperature logging.
Coolsan is developing an in-box hydrogen peroxide vapour, which will maintain the quality and reduce the spoilage of agricultural produce during transportation and storage.
Funding will assist in the installation of three load cells in a vineyard demonstration site at Gumpara Wines to enable the continuous logging of berry weights.
This would help analyse the relationship between environmental factors and the pattern of berry weight gain or shrinkage between ripening and harvest.
The McLaren Vale Wine Grape and Tourism Association received funding to help them create high-resolution vineyard maps of the McLaren Vale wine region.
MVWGTA chief executive officer Erin Leggatt said having access to mapping data would allow the region's grape growers greater opportunity to test and apply ag tech solutions in their vineyards.
"Not having ongoing access to detailed maps, tailor-made to suit new agricultural technologies, was identified by MVGWTA as a significant barrier to producers being able to apply new ag tech innovations in their businesses," she said.
"The maps created through this project will also provide producers with in-depth vineyard data, allowing them to manage their operations in a more wholistic manner and assisting them to apply more sustainable practices under the Sustainable Vineyard Australia program."
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