High-tech farming Agri whiz plans to feed the world
A TOOWOOMBA farmer, who carved out a career mustering cattle by helicopter and now runs one of the country's fastest-growing ag-tech companies, is taking on the challenge of helping feed the world.
Mark Peart, who founded Direct Injection Technologies six years ago, is rolling out remote-monitoring and control systems from a new Townsville factory aimed at boosting agricultural production around the world.
Mr Peart said the technology, which allowed remote feeding and watering of animals along with monitoring of irrigation and other farm systems, would allow farmers to boost production while at the same time minimising the impact on the environment.
"By 2050, there will be 10 billion people on the earth and that will require a doubling in agricultural production," he said. "People are finally realising that food is a scare resource."
Mr Peart founded DIT after realising there had to be a better way to feed supplements to livestock on outback stations. Such supplements are necessary for an estimated 92.5 million cattle and sheep in Australia to grow healthily.
"These supplements used to be fed to animals in a big bag, but the problem was the big cattle would eat it all and leave nothing for the smaller ones," said Mr Peart, who started DIT with the help of his father Mike, a former cattle station manager.
"My dad and I were originally tinkering in the shed when we came up with the idea," he said. "All animals have to drink so by putting supplements in the water they get an amount proportional to their weight."
DIT last year acquired a remote monitoring platform uSEE allowing the company to build "the most cutting edge intelligent sheep and cattle stations."
"No one has successfully been able to build an ag-tech farmer network in Australia's most isolated farming regions due to the remoteness," he said. "With our technology, farmers can be on the beach and monitor what supplements are given to their animals."
With annual revenue of approximately $4 million, Mr Peart said he would consider an initial public offering of the company in the next couple of years.
The company also plans to more than double its staff to about 30 people over the next year and look at exporting the technology overseas. The opening of the Townsville factory follows a $1.2 million Federal Government grant received last year.
Originally published as High-tech farming Agri whiz plans to feed the world