Lincoln Agritech staff members, Peter Barrowclough (CEO) and Dr Armin Werner (Group Manager for Precision Agriculture), travelled to California in June to attend the 2019 New Zealand Agritech Summit hosted by Callaghan Innovation and Agritech New Zealand; they also visited a number of agricultural robotics companies.
The 2019 New Zealand Agritech Summit participants included individuals from AgResearch, Agritech New Zealand, Auckland UniServices and University of Auckland, Callaghan Innovation, CR Automation, GPS IT, Massey University, New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE), Plant and Food Research, PlantTech, Robotics Plus, TracMap, University of Waikato, and Zespri.
The New Zealand delegation spent the first few days meeting representatives from several major USA grower associations to understand the current challenges faced by the industry such as rising costs and lack of labour. They discussed how technological developments such as robotics, automation and sensing technologies can help the agricultural industry. As well as field trips to visit growers on farm, the New Zealand delegation attended the Forbes 2019 Agtech Summit in Salinas, California.
Peter Barrowclough and Armin Werner relished their time networking with like-minded New Zealand and American counterparts and were pleasantly surprised by the calibre and seniority of attendees at the Forbes Summit.
Overall the trip was a great success. Some ‘take home messages’ were: a) everyone is using artificial intelligence and it is regarded as mainstream technology; b) weeding robots are likely to be the first on the market; and c) New Zealanders are just as talented as Americans in designing agricultural robots.