If production continues at its current rate, the amount of food produced around the world will only be able to feed 30 percent of the global population by 2050. This production needs to take into consideration unprecedented impacts of climate change and at the same time use less fuel, land, fertiliser and water to reach sustainability.
In Australia productivity in the growth of the agriculture industry is quite stagnant and is inspiring less people to become farmers and work on land. A large factor to the decreasing popularity of jobs in farming is also due to the enormous costs of production and the small return from sales.
Improving farm efficiencies are now dependent on leveraging technology. With the evolution of IoT there are opportunities for farmers to be more informed and make decisions based on real time data.
Tasmanian agritech startup The Yield is leveraging IoT to improve yields and profitability in agriculture and aquaculture. By using sensors, data management and apps The Yield creates tools for farmers to improve productivity, reduce compliance costs, increase food shelf life and provide sustainable risk management strategies for financial services in the food industry.
“Farming by its nature is a high-risk activity. The Yield dresses this issue for growers by reducing uncertainty,” said COO of The Yield, Phil Randall.
The company works with growers to determine what their needs are in their daily decision making process and then designs solutions to meet those needs. For example Pooley Wines from Tasmania has been reducing frost by 60 percent through accurate monitoring and advanced sensor technology.
Barilla Bay Oysters is also reducing harvest closure by 25 percent by using sensors rather than traditional techniques. This is improving productivity and food safety. The Yield is currently looking to take this solution to market in Tasmania and NSW.
Growers can directly engage with The Yield through an industry body or consortium. The agritech startup is committed to user-centric designs and therefore engages with customers on a regular basis to construct affordable and informed IoT solutions.
Farming is a multi-billion dollar industry and in terms of new technologies, the AgriTech space is one of the fastest growing on the planet right now. The industry is struggling worldwide to manage the growth of the world’s food resources and startups both nationally and globally are creating tech solutions to make operations more efficient and cost effective.
In New Zealand there is an agritech startup called AgriMap that has created farm management software with a focus on record keeping, team collaboration and compliance. Like The Yield, AgriMap has also expanded internationally in Australia and the US and is part of the bigger picture of transforming the agriculture industry.
The Yield was first founded by Ros Harvey in 2014, who has successfully grown the company to become a leader in agritech IoT solutions. The startup has received a $2.5 million cash injection from global technology and services provider Bosch. The partnership between the two companies is part of a global licensing deal and will help The Yield to scale up operations.
The Yield has also partnered with Microsoft and Intel and has previously won a $1 million Accelerating Commercialisation grant, making the startup one of the most disruptive agritech companies in Australia.
Currently the startup is working with Diverse City Careers to offer jobs to women around the country who are interested in finding sustainable agritech solutions for farms around Australia.
Harvey is passionate about supporting women in tech and from day one she has woven a dominant culture of women into The Yield.
With the addition of more staff, The Yield will continue to work on IoT solutions for agriculture as well as building a network of environmental data to assist the industry regulators to better manage farm closures.
Image: Female farmer. Source: Supplied.