GrainCorp has partnered with AgTech company Hone to support the development of technology that will revolutionise testing methods for growers.
The agribusiness is investing in the Newcastle-based start-up by acquiring a 15 per cent share, in a move that will add to the company’s high standard quality-testing capabilities.
Hone’s technology can be used to analyse grain quality, soil carbon, and many other agricultural products and inputs.
GrainCorp’s Chief Innovation and Growth Officer Jesse Scott said the agribusiness has already been working alongside Hone for two years to parallel test their handheld devices, which provide a real-time chemical analysis of crops.
“We’ve been extremely impressed with Hone’s equipment, it’s as accurate and consistent as anything we’ve seen in the industry, but the big difference is that growers will literally be able to hold it in their hands,” Mr Scott said.
“For the grains industry, getting your answer on a crop sample can take weeks – with Hone, this process can be brought down to minutes at the touch of a button.”
“We’re also excited by the potential to use the technology in soil carbon testing and assessing carbon sequestration, which could open up new offset prospects for growers and the industry as a whole,” he added.
Hone’s Founders Dr Antony Martin, Dr William Palmer and Dr Jamie Flynn launched the business in 2016 after completing their PhD studies at the University of Newcastle.
The initial concept for the Hone device was born out of the founder’s development of a 3D microscope to image medical samples, before they quickly realised the benefits a highly accurate and portable testing kit could have for the agricultural industry.
CEO Dr Martin said he hopes Hone’s new partnership with GrainCorp will accelerate the adoption of the technology by grain growers across the eastern seaboard.
“The technology empowers producers to make real-time, data-based decisions that result in healthier soil and crops, more sustainable farming practices and ultimately a more profitable business,” he said.
“Our vision is for anyone to be able to test what they want, when they want, without the inconvenience of collecting and sending samples away for weeks on end.
“Hone’s work is ultimately enabling continuous improvement in the quality space, which can only drive value back into a grower’s pocket.”Hone CEO Dr Antony Martin
“We certainly hope it will accelerate the uptake of carbon farming for landholders as well.”
Mr Scott said the technology will open up enormous opportunities for GrainCorp as well as for growers.
“Quality is in our DNA so we’re always looking for ways to advance in this field, and Hone’s technology is a big step forward for our business and the broader grains industry,” he said.