MELBOURNE, March 6, 2020: CSIRO and Digital Agriculture Services (DAS) have joined forces to open up access to breakthrough Graincast innovation, which is set to play a part in growing food security and quality, enhancing environmental resilience, and nurturing growth in the global grains industry.
Global rights to the technology have been licensed exclusively by CSIRO to DAS.
Unlike most emerging crop identification and yield forecasting technology, which delivers national or regional scale insights, Graincast™ technology also uses AI to create accurate crop maps and yield predictions at paddock, farm or regional level.
It also uses machine learning algorithms to successfully classify and differentiate crops that look similar, such as wheat or barley.
"Agriculture has never had access to this type of information” said CSIRO's Dr Roger Lawes. "Effectively this technology operates like an early warning tool, at a time when a variable climate may impact hectares planted and yields."
DAS, established in 2017, is an Australian rural technology company catering to growing appetite for AI-powered rural, agri and climate risk intelligence that puts science in the hands of decision makers.
CSIRO-backed DAS is pioneering equal access to data-driven insights that can build the sustainability and prosperity of agriculture. Its vision is to build a leading rural intelligence company that transforms decision making in the $5 trillion global industry that is agriculture.
"We are rolling out technology that can identify and predict crops, while automatically connecting everything back to the farm – property boundaries, sales data, soil types, monitoring and yield predictions along with risk insights on fire, flood, drought stress, productivity and climate – into one compelling picture," said Anthony Willmott, DAS CEO and co-founder.
The new agreement has been made possible through a unique collaboration and partnership between CSIRO and DAS.
In 2020, DAS will be monitoring the productivity and potential yield of every crop in Australia, every 14 days – making in-season monitoring possible for the first time.
The breakthrough technology is particularly important for data-poor environments, countries and developing markets where agricultural and land systems are not easily digitised.
CSIRO is both a founding equity partner in DAS, as well as its research and development partner – with the two entities working in tandem to apply machine learning and AI to agriculture.
"The DAS-CSIRO model is all about fostering very different thinking, for a very different future – we are bringing together deep digital, domain knowledge and multi-disciplinary expertise into a globally scalable delivery organisation that can have a profound and positive impact on agriculture," Mr Willmott said.
DAS has a strong record of technology transfer and commercialisation success, building breakthrough science in agronomy, climate, land and water into its Rural Intelligence Platform™ and emerging software-as-a-service (SaaS) products and tools, since its inception.
DAS is exploring a number of commercialisation opportunities in relation to the Graincast™ technology, following a successful proof-of-concept in late 2019.
Last year, around 18 million hectares of land in Australia grew cereal crops – mainly wheat, barley and oats, with wheat plantings estimated at 10.1 million hectares alone for 2019-20.
Globally, around 731 million hectares of land are under cereal production, with wheat accounting for about 217.2 million hectares globally and around 764 million production tons in 2019-2020.
This media release was first published at DAS: CSIRO gives Melbourne tech company the green light to take AI-led crop forecasting global