Duxton’s Agri Bits and Pieces – Vol. 344
Posted on: July 31st, 2017


This week’s quote of the week comes from the Deputy Director of CSIRO Agriculture and Food, Dr Martin Cole on the release of the CSIRO’s Food & Agribusiness Roadmap, which charts a course for products, technology and innovation to secure future success in the sector.

“Australian businesses are among the most innovative in the world, and together without world-class scientists, can deliver growth in the food and agribusiness sector amid unprecedented global change… less predictable growing conditions, increasingly global value chains and customers who demand healthier, more convenient and traceable foods are driving businesses to new ways of operating.”



Victorian rural property prices grew faster than Melbourne houses and apartments in 2016, according to the latest annual figures released by Robert Marsh, the valuer-general of Victoria.

Over 2016, Victorian farm prices rose by 7.4 per cent on average compared with a 5.8 per cent rise in the median Melbourne house price and a 1.4 per cent rise in Melbourne units the valuer-general’s A Guide to Property Valuesreport shows.

Some of this increase can be attributed to the record prices paid for farms on Melbourne’s urban fringe by property developers and landbankers for future conversion to residential housing lots with the report showing a 13 per cent rise in primary production property prices in metropolitan Melbourne.

The average rural price gain outside of the city in country Victoria was a more modest but still very healthy 6 per cent – a reflection of the very strong demand for high-yielding properties spanning sectors like beef, dairy, vineyards and horticulture.

The rise in Victorian farm prices also out performed commercial and industrial property, which registered an average gain of 5.3 per cent in Melbourne and 4.5 per cent across the state.

According to the valuer-general report while average farm prices shot up in 2016, both the volume of properties sold and their total value fell.

Last year, the total number of primary production sales decreased 11.9 per cent to 3434 from 3896 in 2015, with total farm sales in Melbourne falling 10.3 per cent to 210. The result was an estimated 5.3 per cent fall in the value of total sales to $2.72 billion, from $2.87 billion in 2015.

However, again highlighting the rising prices developers are paying for farms on the city fringe, the total value of primary production property sales increased by 1.4 per cent to $493 million, despite the large fall in total sales.


The Australian wine industry is turning to artificial intelligence to streamline its manufacturing.

South Australian tech firm Ailytic has developed an artificial intelligence (AI) program to significantly increase production efficiency by optimising machine use.

It uses an AI technique called ‘prescriptive analytics’ to account for all the variables that go into mass-producing wines such as grape variety, packaging and finished product inventory.

The program then creates the best possible operation schedule, allowing companies to save considerable time and money.

Pernod Ricard Global Business Solutions Manager Pauline Paterson said AI was highly beneficial for the wine industry and helped to increase the bottom line.

“We use it mainly around production line and use it to derive the most efficient way to produce our product,” she said.

“It is definitely helpful with changeover, how many bottles we need, how much wine and what order to do everything in.”

Ailytic’s system is able to obtain essential information from wineries using remote sensors, which are placed on equipment and around winemaking facilities.

These sensors track a number of key metrics including throughput, machine uptime and changeover time from red to white when bottling.

This includes the sub-classification of each colour such as sweet red, dry red, aromatic white and fortified wines.

Ailytic’s program ensures that wine is changed quickly, without contamination, bottled using appropriate glassware, labelled and then packaged appropriately.

The sensors then transmit the data to a computer in real time using Wi-Fi.

A single production run for bottling can take anywhere between one hour to two days but Ailytic’s system reduces time spent changing the line setup by up to 30 per cent.

Ailytic co-founder and CEO James Balzary said the company’s AI program was perfect for the wine industry because it thrived in complex environments.

“Our algorithms work well for things like packaging, bottling and general manufacturing – the wine industry is where we are seeing a lot of appetite and the most uptake,” he said. “People think of wine as a romantic artisan type of process, and it is, when you are producing small batches or super-premium wine, but the majority of wines we drink are mass manufactured in big complex tank operations. That’s where we come in – the more complex the business, the bigger the benefit.”



This week’s chart of the week comes from Bloomberg’s Poultry Farms in India Resemble Superbug Reservoirs Study Finds describing India’s surging demand for protein as dietary habits change and incomes rise, with chicken consumption increasing more than 30% since 2013.





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