Piers Hogarth-Scott, KPMG Australia’s National IoT Practice Leader, interviews established and emerging players drawn from the IoT ecosystem, with the aim of engaging, challenging and probing discussion with the true innovators of IoT in Australia.
Piers Hogarth-Scott interviews Ros Harvey, Founder and Managing Director of Australian agtech start-up, The Yield. Ros explains how IoT-enabled technology, along with analytics, is helping to transform the agriculture sector both in Australia and internationally, by driving precision farming capability.
Let’s hear what Ros has to say.
The Yield takes the guesswork out of growing. So what we do is focus on weather, which drives the greatest uncertainty of them all across food and agriculture supply chain. But we don’t just measure weather, we actually measure it at farm, field, right down to the hot spot level. Then we take that data, and using artificial intelligence, we provide highly localised predictions, and then we convert this into easy to use apps that growers can actually use to help them make better decisions about when to plant, when to irrigate, when to feed and when to harvest.
So when we started we actually started in oysters. Oysters are a bit like an entrée to your meal and they were an entrée to our business. Using artificial intelligence we are now predicting salinity with a 95 percent accuracy three days out, so that growers can get product out of the water before they shut.
We cut our teeth in oysters. We developed the platform technology, but now we are pivoting into agriculture. We developed our own micro-climate sensing system that allows us to use very fine level measurements of the main environmental factors that drive all agriculture models.
Our “Sensing Plus” solution, which is being launched in October this year, helps really focus on critical on-farm decisions. For example, we are actually working with our customers to reduce unnecessary irrigation costs and we can reduce that by up to 30 percent. We are also using the same measurement technology to actually solve problems like harvest scheduling. So using our technology, and working together with analytics, we’re actually looking at how we can predict more accurately the harvest program. What this does is really reduce overproduction, because what often happens in the supply chain is people overproduce because they need to be able to secure their forward contracts with retailers and wholesalers. Being able to optimise the way they are actually managing their production on farm, we can reduce some of those costs.
What we are selling is an end-to-end solution – hardware, platform, analytics, user interface – bundled together with a service package. If we do our job well, all of that technology disappears and people just focus on the essence which is helping them, using that data, to make better decisions.