Startup Hub Friday Five – Agtech
This week the GridAKL / John Lysaght Startup Hub the team asked – so what cool stuff is happening at the intersection of agriculture and technology? Normally when we ask these questions, it’s a team thing, sometimes we ask our residents. This time we thought, why not ask our wider community? – so we headed to Twitter.
Agtech is always an interesting topic to wade through, with agriculture a core contributor to New Zealand’s economy, so it was interesting to hear what was intriguing you all; and the results were varied – from robots through to seawater.
Robotics Plus – suggested by Elyse Wyatt, Auckland Hardware Meetup
“A Tauranga company is ready to take its apple packing robotics offshore and help remove the headache of finding staff to do mundane work. The automated apple packing machines place apples in trays “colour up” with the stems aligned, using sensors, software and electromechanical technology, and are expected to remove some of the monotonous work that apple packhouses find difficult to staff.”
Oritain – suggested by Catherine Reiss
“A Dunedin company offering scientific traceability of food products will soon give shoppers greater clarity over where their free range eggs have come from. Foodstuffs has announced it is working with Oritain Global Ltd to give its customers scientifically traceable free range eggs under its Pams brand.
“The advantage of Oritain’s approach is they test the actual product, rather than relying on packaging and paperwork”
Halter – suggested by Chris Piggott – CEO of Halter (hey you gotta back yourself!)
“Growing up on a 300-cow dairy farm in Matamata exposed Craig Piggott to the problems farmers face. With a first class honours engineering degree and a year’s experience building rockets for Rocket Lab under his belt, he is now solving them with his own agri-tech invention… His invention, named Halter, self-herds cows and sends data about cows’ behaviour, emotions and health to a farmers phone, saving time and money. ”
Plant-based proteins – Suggested by Rosie Bosworth
“The trade definition of meat comes from animal protein, and we said ‘what if we could make meat directly from plants?'” Ms Sukul-Lee (founder of Sunfed Meats) told Seven Sharp. The process of how it’s made is strictly under wraps, but the ingredients are no secret. “Mostly water, pea protein, vegetable powder, plant starch, maise starch and a little bit of natural yeast extract.” It’s not a completely new idea, but her competitors – all overseas – are focused on red meat.”
Growing crops in seawater – Suggested by Firas Hermez
“Scientists in China have developed several types of rice that can be grown in seawater, potentially creating enough food for 200 million people. Researchers have been trying to grow the grain in salty water for decades but have only now developed varieties that could be commercially viable. The rice was grown in a field near the Yellow Sea coastal city of Qingdao in China’s eastern Shandong province. 200 different types of the grain were planted to investigate which would grow best in salty conditions.”