Bringing farms into the modern-day era, is the main aim behind a rapidly growing Australian cloud-based, on farm technology management system.
Tie Up Farming was established four years ago, and Chief Executive Officer Roei Yaakobi says there was a need for software in the horticulture industry.
"The farmers wanted an end-to-end software solution," he said. "End-to-end, meaning farm and packing shed management, basically what we refer to as the farm gate. On the farm management modules include a Spray Diary to manage all of the agribusiness chemicals and fertiliser application, as well as inventory, scouting and recommendations, labor management including harvest and agro-technical work enabling to pay per piece and per hour via a payroll module. There's also a Manage Tasks/Planning module, with weather station and soil sensor and more. This enables the system to calculate the exact costs for the farm operation and give a break down of cost per bin, cost per hectare, cost per block, cost per variety and ROI’s. Once these sets of data, together with the Packing Shed data, mainly the Pack Outs, the agribusiness can see the correlations between inputs to outputs. The system applies AI and provide forecast and analysis.”
He says there was a high demand for this technology immediately, revealing that in 2019 company's biggest competitor is still "pen and paper", even with some of the multi-million dollar corporations. While, another advantage of the system is in future planning.
"We have done some work realising the real value of what we do and what the agribusinesses we work with want us to provide, which is yield forecasting," Mr Yaakobi said. "This will enable insurance companies, for example, to give better insurance policies, for banks, better loans, for marketers to have better planning work which is in great need once working with the supermarkets, that wants to maintain constant pricing and plan promotions. The growers themselves want to know what's the price will be next month, in the next six months, next year.”
Mr Yaakobi adds there is major potential in aggregated data, with some work done on yield forecasting at farm-level, but not on industry level. Tie Up Farming uses third-party sensors to obtain above and below ground data, from the moment of planting until it leaves the farm-gate.
"We correlate this data into a smart dashboard and give it back to the grower to understand why they got the packout percentage that they did from block A and that packout percentage from block B - although it is the same variety with the same root stock," he said. "What was different; was there different fertiliser used? Was it because of strong wind? Wrong picking? This also enables us to work out the price for the industry for a specific crop.
Tie Up Farming is working with some of the largest agribusinesses in Australia across a wide-range of produce lines, and demand and uptake is growing, according to Mr Yaakobi. There has even been some interest from some big companies overseas.
"It enables you to see real data, in real time and make better decisions" he said. "There is talk on how do you provide data in the right way and method for the farmers to work with the data that you collect. They already know what to do with it, we are presenting it in real-time, saving them huge amounts of time collecting and processing this information - and only by that, they are saving lots of money. One, pretty large, agribusiness worked with our software for eight months and saved more than $500,000."
Mr Yaakobi adds that the technology is secondary to the service provided by Tie Up Farming, meaning that the company works with farmers on the ground implementing the systems - as flexibility is important, because no two farms are the same.
The company has clients in Australia and Malaysia, and is looking to expand into other parts of South East Asia, as well as the United States and South America in coming years.
The company will be showcasing its products and services at Hort Connections in booth 216.