The excitement is mounting for the five finalists competing for the $40,000 prize in the Westpac Innovation Challenge in Agribusiness.

After being selected from over 130 applications from every state in Australia, the five finalists have spent the past two weeks working on their business strategy and competition pitch with the startup advisors at BlueChilli. With ideas ranging from livestock management to drones to labour we’ve had some very interesting conversations about how technology can revitalise and reimagine Australia’s agribusiness industry!

Westpac Innovation Challenge

The competition seeks to support early stage ideas that have the potential to make a big impact on the agriculture industry. The finalists aren’t existing startups looking for a competition to win, but rather experts in their field looking for guidance on how to turn their innovations into a large scale success.

Finalists are:

Livestock Connect (David Gregory)
An online marketplace for the livestock industry, which enables farmers to connect with livestock agents and abattoirs for live, up to date pricing and availability when selling their stock.

AgTasker (Ella Shannon)
We help farmers tender jobs to an extended network of short term labour in a quick, transparent and cost effective way. Farmers drive the recruitment process by reviewing profiles to choose the right person for the job.

Drones For Grapevines (Bertram Ostendorf)
Technology that uses a combination of drones, optical instruments and biochemistry to allow early detection of virus infections of individual grapevines at large scale in order to prevent yield loss and disease spread.

Smart Shepherd (David Rubie & Glenn Vassallo)
Smart Shepherd extends the Internet of Things to livestock, dramatically reducing stock losses and increasing genetic performance in the livestock industry by using a connected monitoring system that is less intrusive, cheaper and leads into new areas of animal welfare research.

FarmChem (Cameron Clark)
FarmChem is an app that scans a farmer’s purchased chemical drum barcode to automatically display and provide warnings, use by and product safety information on that chemical. It integrates with live environmental and weather data to provide advice on best practice for application, and facilitates easy and timely repurchase of chemicals that are running out.

Think you know what makes a great agri startup? Then take a look at the finalists and cast your vote for the People’s Choice Award in the Westpac Innovation Challenge for Agribusiness. Apart from bragging rights if your favourite wins the $40,000 prize, you might just score yourself an Apple iWatch for your participation.

Voting is now open and closes at 8pm on Tuesday 1 September.