Duxton’s Agri Bits and Pieces – Vol. 406
Posted on: December 14th, 2018



This weeks quote is based on the blockchain trial which is aimed at boosting food safety, improve animal welfare and monitor export security for Australian beef. The beef market is integral to the Australian economy and is relevant on an international scale as Australia is the third largest beef exporter in the world.


“Research shows us that ethical standards and concerns for animal welfare, along with authenticity and proof of product origin, are amongst the top priorities for Chinese consumers. It’s also what’s driving consumer interest in Australian products,” BeefLedger chairman Warwick Powell says.

Australasian Transport News – Buy and Sell Transport, 10th of December 2018





New Agriculture Robot SWEEPER Lends a Hand in Pepper Picking

To combat massive labor shortages, the agricultural industry is turning to robots like SWEEPER to fulfill its harvesting needs. Farmers are suffering to find efficient, affordable labor to pick and sort crops. SWEEPER is the industry’s newest attempt to ease its labor burden via automation.

It received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and was introduced at the research station for vegetable production at ST. Katelijne Waver in Belgium.

SWEEPER was designed to operate in a single stem row cropping system, with non-clustered fruits and little leaf occlusion. Within these conditions, the robot can harvest ripe fruit in 24 seconds with a 62% success rate. The BGU used advanced computer vision methods to improve the robot’s ability to detect ripe produce, which has determined the robot’s hardware and software interfaces.

Using robots to harvest fruits and vegetables will revolutionize the economics of agriculture industry. “The Sweeper picks methodically and accurately,” Polina Kurtser, a Ph.D. candidate in BGD’s Department of Industrial Engineering and Management says. “When it is fully developed, it will enable harvesting 24/7, drastically reduce spoilage, cut labor costs, and shield farmers from market fluctuations.”


The market for robots in agriculture has been on the rise, primarily due to the aforementioned labor issues. Surveys show that 55% of farmers have experienced employee shortages. To combat the lack of labor, two-thirds of farmers surveyed reported using or starting to implement some form of mechanization into their production process. The report showed that 27% of the 1,300 growers surveyed are considering purchasing a robot to help with their harvesting needs. Their main concerns are time-saving and efficiency to ensure an on-time harvest.

More research is needed to increase the speed and harvest success of SWEEPER. Following the latest test results, the researchers behind it expect the robot to be commercially available with the next four to five years. This would be a boon to farmers in North America, the second largest producer of sweet bell and chili peppers in the world with 31% market share. Europe accounted for more than half of the world’s pepper supply at 53.2% market share.

Carlos Gonzalez, MachineDesign, December 10st 2018






Ukrainian agriculture records large growth in exports

The foreign trade turnover in the Ukrainian amounted to 19.2 billion US dollars between January and October 2018 in the agricultural sector. This expresses an increase of 5% in comparison to the prior year.

“Our main trading partners are Asian countries, followed by the European Union and Africa,” added Ms Trofimtseva.

The growing agricultural sector has also benefited the development of the Ukrainian organic food sector, which only began to gain traction a decade ago when organic products started appearing on the shelves of Ukrainian shops. Since then, the internal organic market has bloomed leading to more companies producing organic products.

Due to the growing popularity of Ukraine’s organic produce on foreign markets, the Reform Support Office under the Ministry of Agriculture and Food reported that in 2017 the total volume of exports of organic products amounted to 260,000 tons.

“Our organic products are supplied to the Netherlands, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Austria, Poland, Switzerland, Belgium, Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Hungary, the USA, Canada, Australia and some Asian countries,” said a ministry representative.

To continue pushing towards organic produces the ministry in partnership with the Western NIS Enterprise Fund, the Swiss-Ukrainian Organic Market Development project and the Research Institute of Organic Agriculture has created a campaign to promote organic farming to global investors.

Shakhil Shah, Emergingeurope, December 10th 2018







This week’s chart comes from Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology’s Webinar: Summer 2018-19 climate and water update and shows the amount of rain needed to lift total annual rainfall out of the bottom 10% of records. With many areas requiring at least double their December averages to achieve this, highlighting the current state of the drought throughout different regions.












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