News and Success Stories

Published 03 November 2023

Scouting solutions - The future of disease monitoring

New Zealand research organisation, Foundation for Arable Research (FAR) is expanding its capabilities to suit the needs of Kiwi growers by working with Australian-based automated disease detection technology company, BioScout.

FAR, who were looking to establish a project for surveying cereal diseases, saw BioScout’s presentation at Callaghan Innovation’s Connecting NZ’s Airborne Tech event in Christchurch earlier this year and identified an opportunity to collaborate. 

“It’s crazy to think this all stemmed from a conversation that we had at an agritech event, and now we’re working alongside BioScout in a trial that’s the first of its kind in New Zealand,”

– -Chris Smith, FAR Technology Manager

“We are always looking for new technology to test so we can better help our growers. We’d love to see more from New Zealand technology companies and support trials where we can” says FAR Technology Manager, Chris Smith. 

After success in Australia’s viticulture and arable markets, BioScout is looking to expand their offering by feeding its machine learning capabilities and deepening its disease database for the benefit of growers in international markets, like New Zealand.  

One way of entering a market is to set up the technology on a research site, or demonstration farm. FAR is helping to collect data to feed BioScout’s AI systems for diseases of interest to the arable industry and validating the technology’s value for spore detection. In addition to its disease forecast capabilities, there’s potential for BioScout’s technology to be integrated into the FAR R&D system to answer a lot of research questions in the future.

BioScout are now trialing their emerging technology on a New Zealand research farm, the first time it’s been used in the New Zealand arable industry. 

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