AU: Harvest gets smart as farmers turn to digital trackers to boost yield

In a cucumber greenhouse in Bundaberg, the supervisor keeping track of who has clocked in, what they're doing, and how well they're doing doesn't get a pay cheque or a lunch break.

Instead, the digital supervisor works non-stop, collecting data and sending it to the cloud where the farm manager can see which rows are producing the most fruit and who picked it — without leaving the office. 

It is a new technology called Harvest Ant, developed by tech start-up Grow Logic and being tested on real-world farms as part of the Hinkler AgTech Initiative led by CQUniversity and funded through the federal government's Hinkler Regional Deal. 

Managing director Peter Bail said it used a tag with built-in RFID technology that pickers tapped at checkpoints on the row, the crates, and at other supervised locations to automatically record what task they were performing and what produce they picked. "As an example, if they started harvesting in a row, they would tag onto the row, they would tag onto the crate, and fill up the crate," he said.

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