Published on the 03/11/2020 | Written by Heather Wright
Growing crop success as two Aussie companies join forces…
Australian global wine producer, Treasury Wine Estates is calling on an Aussie-developed sensor and analytics solution to bolster yield and profitability and assist with harvest predictions for some of A/NZ’s top wine brands.
One of the world’s largest wine companies, ASX-listed Treasury Wine Estates will roll out The Yield’s Sensing+ solution across its Australian and New Zealand vineyards. The solution will enable growers to monitor and predict growing conditions based on microclimate data collected from farm sensors.
“Sensing+ combines data to create AI models that drive significant commercial benefit for customers.”
Sensing+ combines sensors and analytics to provide information and predictions in easy-to-use apps that help large commercial growers make production decisions such as when to irrigate, feed, plant, protect and harvest. for harvest predictions and weather notifications using gridded weather across Australia and New Zealand.
The three year deal will see data from Sensing+ combined with Treasury’s historical harvest data to create harvest prediction models to enable high frequency yield forecasting throughout the growing season.
Treasury Wine Estates has more than 12,600 hectares of vineyards, including in the Adelaide Hills, Barossa Valley, the Coonawarra and Marlborough, and in California, Italy and France, with brands including Penfolds, 19 Crimes, Lindeman’s, Wolf Blass and New Zealand’s Matua.
The Yield, meanwhile is a Sydney-based agtech startup on a mission to ‘transform food and farming practices by building secure, scalable digital technology’. The company, whose major investors include Bosch, KPMG and AgFunder, uses machine learning, data science and AI to assist with ‘challenges’ such as increasing yield, reducing waste and aiding sustainability.
Ros Harvey, The Yield founder and managing director, says Sensing+’s enterprise capability is helping fast-track customers along the digital transformation pathway.
“The rules and notifications platform helps codify weather related practice, while our enterprise view enables our customers’ staff to have a unified view across all growing assets right down to the block level,” Harvey says.
“This means they can take action on growing conditions such as extreme weather risks, irrigation needs, the best spray conditions and harvest scheduling,” she says.
Harvey says technology is critical in delivering security, particularly in light of the disrupted food supply chains seen this year.
“Our Sensing+ microclimate solution helps customers to work largely remotely in managing the needs of their crops and manage labour requirements. It facilitates the uptake of automated robotic operations in farming and remote management of dispersed assets.
“Additionally, by leveraging customer data sets, our Sensing+ Enterprise Analytics platform quickly combines data to create AI models for things like yield predictions, that drive significant commercial benefit for customers.”
In May, The Yield gained AU$11 million in investment, led by venture capital group Yamaha Motor Ventures.
Gavin Smith, president of Bosch Australia, which converted its existing loan into equity in The Yield, says Australia is poised to play a leading role in Agriculture 4.0, thanks to companies like The Yield.