News and Success Stories

Published 03 October 2023

Collective Capabilities: the integration of three New Zealand agritech solutions

Three New Zealand agritech companies are planning to integrate their solutions to make the lives of Kiwi growers even easier.

Agri Automation (Importer & distributor of specialised ag automation systems), Dataphyll (orchard mapping and management software company), and Fruitminder (orchard management and data software company) are collaborating to bring a new offering that links, automates and simplifies strenuous aspects of the harvesting process, from harvest management to produce transportation. 

Fruitminder CEO Sebastian Chapman says independently the solutions are great, but together, they have potential to change the game. 

“If growers across the country are all seeing the same problems, we want to know how we can find the solutions by working together.”

“There’s some amazing software available in the horticulture space and there’s increasing demand for autonomous hardware. But the real value is marrying both software and hardware for maximum impact,” says Chapman.

How do the products integrate?

At an orchard open day in Otago, leaders of the three agritech companies saw how integrating the UCVision camera scanning system with an autonomous vehicle like the Burro or GoTrack tractor, and using both Fruitminder and Dataphyll’s data collection technology, enabled growers to manage the orchard remotely.

UCVision camera on Monarch tractorAgri Automation’s autonomous vehicles like the Burro robot allows growers to work more efficiently by focusing on value-added tasks like picking while the autonomous vehicle takes care of transporting the produce.

Agri Automation CEO Chris Clifford Burro Robot Then there’s the insights that Dataphyll and Fruitminder provide.The crossover of data between the two software systems complement each other to create a rich understanding of orchard management. From Fruitminder’s capability to essentially build a digital twin of the orchard and gain a macro view of operations, to the tree scanning system for insights on individual trees, paired with Dataphy’lls quality control insights and management optimisation capabilities.

Fruitminder digital twin building capability “This integration isn’t just good for managers who can now gain insights on staff productivity from Dataphyll, plant and produce updates every step of the way with Fruitminder,” begins Dataphyll CEO Christoph Kistler.

“But, by loading Dataphyll and UC-Vision scanning systems onto autonomous vehicles,which feed into Dataphyll and Fruitminder databases, it provides pickers with more transparency around pay and productivity as they work in the field,”he says. 

Dataphyll RFID smart bucket on Burro robotWhat are the wider benefits?

Using smart tools and data systems like those offered by Dataphyll, Agri Automation, and Fruitminder, could help alleviate pressure from the increasing labour shortages. Particularly ahead of the summer period where most summer fruit orchards go from having five on-field staff to over 100 for a 7-8 week harvest period. 

What’s more, the solutions are compatible with most existing technologies that orchardists and farmers are using. 

“Our approach as a bunch of small, independent businesses is working towards synergy that benefits the entire industry no matter what tools they’re already using - you can customise this to suit your needs.” 

Agritech ITP Lead, Simon Yarrow says this is the kind of Kiwi ingenuity and inter-company partnerships that Callaghan Innovation hopes to see more of. 

“When agritech companies put the needs of growers and farmers first, we see incredible outcomes like this,” he says.

“We’re really proud to see connections being forged from industry events resulting in integrated systems which we’ll see on orchards across the country soon.” 

The three agritech companies are now taking their integrated solutions on the road to showcase their collaborative offering to growers across the country. 

Register to attend the Fruitminder Open days with UC-Vision, Agri Automation, Burro and Dataphyll:

  • October 27 - Marlborough: Register here

  • November 6 - Hawke’s Bay: More information coming soon.