Weeding robot to boost organic farming in Victoria

Kilter Rural, Australia’s largest grower of irrigated, broad acre, certified organic crops, will be deploying a pioneering robotic weeding equipment in Lake Boga, in north-west Victoria, that could transform tomato growing industry in the state.

The project will be supported with a $250,000 through grand by the Victorian government through its Food Source Victoria program and is expected to create significant market opportunity for Australian-grown organic tomatoes in Victoria.

Victoria’s Minister for Agriculture and Regional Development, Jaala Pulford, said the project could position Victoria as the lead organic tomato processing centre for Australia.

“It will mean manufacturers and retailers wanting to offer products containing organic processed tomatoes will have access to local product, grown in Victoria – supporting local jobs,” Pulford said.

The robotic weeding equipment is crucial to growing organic tomato crops, as the requirements of organic certification mean chemicals can’t be used to control weeds.

Kilter is the second largest grower of processing tomatoes after Kagome Farms.

Member for Northern Victoria Mark Gepp noted that there are currently no organic tomatoes processed in Australia, prompting manufacturers and retailers of organic processed tomatoes to use an imported product.

“Kilter has developed a plan to pioneer the growing, processing and marketing of organic tomatoes in Australia and that’s great news for Victoria,” he concluded.