Agronomeye: The 360-view to help farmers turbocharge business
An Australian agritech startup is giving farmers a bird’s eye view of their farm, with a digital model so precise that it can optimise on-farm decision-making – and unlock additional value by enhancing business and natural capital transactions. With Microsoft and CSIRO on board, the sky’s the limit for Agronomeye.
Australian agritech startup, Agronomeye, is set to sharpen the ag sector’s focus on digital mapping, producing a groundbreaking farm-scale ‘digital twin.’ Using ultra high-resolution imagery, Agronomeye’s Digital Foundation and AgTwinTM platform delivers a highly detailed, dynamic digital representation of the farm, with advanced modelling capabilities and dynamic overlays that enable farmers to understand the risks and opportunities unique to their property.
Agronomeye Co-founder and CEO, Stu Adam, explained, “There’s already a huge amount of data available to farmers – across all aspects of the business – but the missing piece of the puzzle is the ability to integrate different datasets and visualise this at the farm level. AgTwin delivers that.”
Driving Agronomeye is the desire to give farmers the clarity and confidence to make decisions that optimise the farm landscape. Stu explained, “Our vision is to put the power in the hands of the farmer, by giving them the top-drawer data set – the Digital Foundation – that eliminates uncertainty around doing something that may, or may not, pay off. We’re providing the data that says, ‘Yes, go and do it,’ or ‘No, the data doesn’t support that idea. Maybe you need to rethink that approach.”
RELATED: Agritech innovators work together to deliver better solutions for farmers
Optimising the landscape, one change at a time
As a platform technology, Agronomeye enables all manner of software and hardware integrations. “Once the Digital Foundation has been laid, it’s a matter of just hooking up the rest of the farmer’s data and technology to make the AgTwin come to life,” said Stu.
“That might be yield or soil data, or dynamic data from satellites, sensors, or livestock movements. We bring it all together to create a living, breathing version of the digital farm that helps to drive optimisation. The more analytics and insights that can be delivered at the farm landscape level, the better.”
RELATED: How tech-stacks make life easier on-farm
Agronomeye is being used by farmers right across the sector, from extensive grazing properties to cotton farms and vineyards – and it’s yielding important insights.
By seeing the data in 3D, that clarity and confidence really clicks in. Farmers are empowered to optimise what they do in a whole range of ways, from small changes like better placement of a pipe to gravity feed a trough, to major redevelopment of irrigated cotton fields.
RELATED: Farmo’s remote monitoring solutions saves farmer’s time and water
CSIRO collaboration delivers game-changing water flow modelling
A sought-after component of AgTwin is its on-farm water flow prediction modelling, enabled by a “right place, right time” meeting with CSIRO at its agritech showcase, AgCatalyst.
Stu explained, “CSIRO displayed this beautiful picture of how water moves across the landscape. And I thought, ‘If we can create the tech pathway, there’s plenty of farmers out there who can use this modelling to optimise water use efficiency.’ My mind went to questions like, ‘Can we keep you out of drought for longer?’ and ‘Can we bring you out of drought sooner, too?’”
RELATED: CSIRO’s innovative plastic mulch alternative boosts crop water productivity by 30%
What emerged is a three-year collaboration with CSIRO that’s evolved from a focus on water use efficiency, to discovering new products and metrics to optimise farm businesses across a range of areas, including shade modelling for animal welfare.
Benefits extend beyond production
While optimising production is at the core of every ag business, Agronomeye offers up a range of other potential applications. Stu explained, “Because we have this digital ‘source of truth’, it’s easy for the farmer to share with their bank, their insurers, in natural capital transactions, to optimise business outcomes, too.”
Agronomeye has proven the concept in a collaboration with Elders, looking at the potential benefits of the AgTwin in rural real estate, with a particular focus on natural capital and agronomy. “These are big capital transactions,” said Stu. “So there’s a lot of due diligence required to determine whether that property is the right fit. The listing might show drone footage that tugs at the heartstrings, but it doesn’t show how water moves across the farm, or where biodiversity corridors or shade belts would be most impactful. That sort of information would be really desirable to the buyer, and another tradeable asset for the vendor.”
RELATED: ‘The time is now’: Key insights from Elders CEO Mark Allison
While privacy and data sharing concerns remain limiting factors in the widespread uptake of big data solutions, Agronomeye is getting on the front foot. “We’re farmer first, so our view is the farmer owns the Digital Foundation. It’s theirs to use and share as they see fit.”
Digital ‘stress test’ elevates scenario planning
Digital twins are already used in the construction, automotive and mining industries, to ‘stress test’ assets under different scenarios. And Stu sees a similar use case for Agronomeye.
“Giving farmers a digital home base is one thing. But where the AgTwin really comes into its own is in throwing scenarios at it and seeing how the farm responds. Under existing management practices, how will your farm respond to a 1:50 year drought, for example?”
“But the next step is, what happens if we build in some virtual optimisations across the farm and then run those same scenarios? What does that future look like?”
RELATED: Building resilience: data-driven decision making and lowering risk
Big tech collaboration validates Agronomeye’s potential
Startups know that collaborations are key – enabling a sharing of information, reputation, and market reach. And for an agritech startup, collaborations don’t come much bigger than Microsoft. It’s welcome confirmation from big tech that there is a need, and opportunity, for Agronomeye’s solution.
“It doesn’t hurt when your company logo is up there next to Microsoft, that’s for sure,” said Stu. “We’re working with Microsoft’s Azure FarmBeats technology, which they developed to make more sense of disparate datasets. Combining soil sensors and satellite imagery to provide insights related to soil moisture across the farm is one example of the ways FarmBeats takes data and creates insights. But these insights need to be delivered in the context of the farm landscape, and Agronomeye is excited to be working with Microsoft to put this complete picture in the hands of farmers.”
Stu said the Microsoft partnership was Agronomeye announcing to the world that it was ready to come out of stealth mode. “We’ve dialed in on the product and established the market fit. We have millions of hectares of data mapped, modelled, and ready to go – that will dramatically expand our offering. And now, we’re ready to put that technology in the hands of as many farmers as possible.”
“This year is about collaboration: with Microsoft, to bring that integration to life, with CSIRO, to create more farm-scale analytics, and with new technology providers to build commercialisation pathways. My inbox is full, which is super exciting.”
Agronomeye has also been selected to participate in the evokeAG. Innovation Station and will showcase its technology at the evokeAG. 2023 event held in Adelaide, alongside nine other founders.
To discuss setting up your digital AgTwin with Agronomeye, visit here.
Enjoyed this story? Want to learn more about the Asia Pacific region’s innovative agrifood tech ecosystem? Sign up for our newsletter here and receive fresh stories about global leaders, farmers, startups and innovators driving collaborative change.