With a potato yield 31 per cent above the national average, Tasmania’s reputation for good spuds attracted New Zealand agricultural firm CropLogic to start its Australian expansion here.
CropLogic recently announced its acquisition of Newstead-based precision agriculture and monitoring specialist business Ag Logic as its way into the Australian market.
In the days after the announcement CropLogic managing director Jamie Cairns toured Tasmania with Ag Logic owner Dr Reuben Wells to get a feel for the state’s industry and see where his business fitted.
“The farmers we target grow potatoes; Tasmania is synonymous with potatoes,” Mr Cairns said.
“For us it’s a great referral market. We’ve done trials in Tasmania previously and targeted Washington State too,” he said.
With the target product in mind, CropLogic looked to find an agricultural services business that had an existing customer base, but also the capacity to grow and build on its technology platform.
Ag Logic was the ideal fit.
Its advanced mapping tools are used to measure soil and topographical variations, and Ag Logic works with intensive horticulture, broadacre irrigated cropping and pasture production enterprises to get the most out of these maps for variable rate fertiliser plans, optimised drain layout and more.
“Ag Logic has decent IP that can be incorporated into our fully-featured platform,” Mr Cairns said.
The farmers we target grow potatoes; Tasmania is synonymous with potatoes.Jamie Cairns
CropLogic offers agronomic expertise based on scientific research with a system based on science, agronomy and technology that was developed through more than 500 field trials in Australia, China, New Zealand and the US.
The system was launched commercially in Washington State in 2017 and services approximately 60,000 acres – or 30 per cent – of the potato market in Washington State.
This Tasmanian acquisition provides CropLogic with an Australian base for research and development and capitalises upon the ongoing development the company has invited through its international expansion strategy.
“We’re not looking to alter the relationship between growers and agriculture, but we’re taking some of the mundane, manual data and increasing their ability to take that to the next level in the field,” Mr Cairns said.
“We’re not looking to direct sell technology to the field, but have taken an acquisition strategy to understand the knowledge base.
“We’ve been watching Tasmania for a little while and see it deals with the major players, like Simplot. We used the same strategy in the US.”
CropLogic intends to build on Ag Logic’s existing relationships and reputation to give it an Australian base to put its “feet on the ground”.
From Tasmania, CropLogic intends to develop a platform that opens the door to develop commercial channels throughout Australia.
“We intend to build on the business and make ourselves known to the economic development organisations [in Tasmania],” Mr Cairns said.
CropLogic’s acquisition strategy revolves around identifying regions and states that overachieve in agricultural production, and then finding entities with good industry networks and reputations that can add to its technical development.
Acquisitions provide an immediate footprint in an existing market from which CropLogic can directly drive and support its organic growth.
“In the case of Ag Logic, in such a strategic market, an acquisition made sense for us,” Mr Cairns said.
“We’re hoping to see some capital growth down here based on the [Tasmanian government’s] significant investment in irrigation. If you’re going to think about things, water is the biggest variable,” he said.