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Hort Innovation: Automating the nut industry - a pathway to smarter orchards and labour optimisation - request for proposal

Opportunity for

  • Innovators and research service providers to deliver a research project 'automating the nut industry: a pathway to smarter orchards and labour optimisation'

Opportunity description

Industry challenge

The key objectives of this program are to:

  • Reduce reliance on labour through the implementation or adaptation of automation technologies.
  • Minimize operational costs and enhance product quality by leveraging advanced and modern mechanisation.
  • Optimise overall efficiency by providing accurate information and insights for the decision-making process, utilising technologies such as AI, and its subsets.

Current opportunity

This program is designed to deliver a multi-project work package with the primary objectives of reducing reliance on labour, minimising operational costs, and optimising overall value chain efficiency. The program is focused on nut industries including almond, macadamia, and pistachios.

The program will address the following key industry challenges:

  • Labour optimisation in response to increasing costs.
  • Advanced mechanisation for resource optimisation and product quality improvement.
  • Lack of predictability in anticipating threats based on data and providing insights for assertive decision-making.
  • Lack of reliable connectivity in the field.

Respondents must address the above challenges. The program will be structured around the following themes:

  • Mechanisation: Use of advanced mechanisation to optimise resources, streamline on-farm processes and improve product quality.

  • Connectivity: Enhance orchard connectivity for seamless integration of all components, ensuring real-time data and control across the entire system.

  • AI/Data Analytics: Leverage artificial intelligence and data to enhance the decision making process.

  • Robotics: Integrate autonomous robots into key processes.

It is expected that respondents will make clear in their response how performance, security, scalability, usability will be measured, including the expected performance of these measures at the end of the program.

It is expected that the provider will engage with industry stakeholders, including growers, end users, project managers and subject matter experts, as required.

The respondent must meet Hort Innovation delivery expectations, including:

  • Maintenance of an IP register throughout the project
  • Detailed Monitoring and evaluation plan (MS102)
  • Communications and extension plan including leveraging links to Hort innovation existing industry communications channels (MS102).
  • Project reference group membership and the Terms of reference to be agreed with Hort Innovation
  • Independent midterm evaluation (fully costed)
  • Yearly milestone report
  • Demonstration event
  • Final report (MS190).

Respondents can choose to submit a proposal aligned to one or more of the identified themes and will be expected to collaborate with other respondents if more that one respondent is engaged. Proposals that are less than 5 years are eligible for this program.

Opportunity type

Research partner

Express interest by

Tuesday, 23 July 2024 01:00 Australia/Sydney
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Mid to Late (TRL 5-9)
For opportunities that are seeking solutions providers who are in the mid to late stages of readiness.
What does this mean?
Describes the stage of the challenge or opportunity being pursued.

Opportunity led by

Multiple industries
Alternative protein Cross industry Fruits Nuts Other rural industries Pasture, fodder & feed Vegetables

Hort Innovation

Hort Innovation is the grower-owned, not-for-profit research and development corporation for Australia's horticulture industry. As one of the nation's 15 Rural …
  • Location


  • Organisation type

    Research funding body

Focus areas



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  • Led by

    Hort Innovation

  • Opportunity type

    Licensing, Research partner, Field trial, Seeking partners

  • Readiness
    Mid (TRL 5-7)
    Proof of concept in the laboratory then in the field resulting in the development of a minimum viable product (MVP).

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