Blueberries case studyBook a demonstration


Setting benchmarks and standards

AgPick has worked with leading blueberry producers since 2018 after providing a harvest management solution for Perfection Berries at seven sites in Queensland and Tasmania. Since then, the blueberry net has widened to include Paradise Fruits Enterprise and Nutrano Produce Group, both of Queensland, and Adele Training Farm of New South Wales.

The challenge

Each blueberry producer was motivated to adopt AgPick for various reasons. However, a shared objective was the need to automate record keeping across all outdoor activities for accuracy, analysis, and efficiency, and since 2022, piece-rate compliance under a Horticultural Award variation.

The collaboration with Perfection Berries was a result of an immediate need to provide growers with better visibility and control over harvest operations via hand-held Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) scanners.

Over time, AgPick evolved to meet Perfection Berries’ objectives to record all outdoor activities including seasonal picker payroll reconciliation, traceability, crop management costs and provide yield comparisons. In this setting, AgPick collects data for buckets weighed one at a time on bench scales in the field.

At Paradise Fruits, implementation was urgently required to improve record keeping, especially to track and isolate workers during Queensland’s first COVID-19 lockdown in early 2020. What began as an auditing tool to help the harvest continue in an outbreak, evolved to capture, and report on field activities in the business and across subsidiary propagation business, Paradise Berry Propagators.

Pickers at Paradise Farms also present buckets for weighing on bench scales.

At social enterprise venture, Adele Training Farm, AgPick was implemented in 2022 to keep track of all outdoor activities and comply with Horticulture Award rules. At this business, platform scales are in place and weigh up to three buckets at a time. Also in 2022, Nutrano Produce Group required a solution for its Queensland operation to primarily display the productivity of individuals via a dashboard and viewable by all relevant supervisors.

The solution

All blueberry producers employing AgPick technology have access to a system which can count and weigh trays individually on bench scales or in multiple stacks up to 45kgs for platform scales.

AgPick collaborated with weighing partner A&D Weighing to devise functionality which sets a tare to zero and excludes the tray weight weights.

Data is captured in the field on scanners fitted with SIM cards and transmitted via Bluetooth connectivity to report on both gross and net This creates efficiencies as pickers can count trays in stacks and record against a picker’s ID.

A detailed dashboard, developed for Nutrano but available for all clients, captures real-time productivity and identifies quality issues such as where pickers rank in productivity and what quality issues may be attributed to them.

Blueberries case study

This enables the grower to gain better control, take appropriate action and eliminate potentially costly QA errors. AgPick also counts waste and captures break times – paid and unpaid – for accurate hourly or piece-rate payment.

The solution is based on touch screens using android devices designed for outdoor use, supported by an online portal. Updates occur in real time, in the paddock and can be accessed by any web device, anywhere.

The solution is based on touch screens using android devices designed for outdoor use, supported by an online portal. Updates occur in real time, in the paddock and can be accessed by any web device, anywhere.

Blueberries case study

The outcome

While AgPick’s flexibility accounts for specific harvest processes which vary from producer to producer, pickers at all sites harvest blueberries by hand into buckets for weighing in the field. Data captured, links buckets picked with individual pickers to ensure accurate payment, traceability and record keeping.

This flexibility came into its own when it was implemented at Paradise Fruits in the early months of the pandemic. AgPick’s installation helped meet auditing and Health Department requirements easily. The selling point was its ability to record pickers clocking on and off, as well as what they picked and their location in the event of a breakout.

For Perfection Berries, capturing weight direct from scales is vital for efficient operation, as well as the ability to provide information to managers on any device during the season and throughout the year.

As the system supports flexible workflows, it has been configured to record different berry lines in different ways at Perfection Berries. The user also has the option to switch from scanned units to key entry details of a worker’s total pick, if required.

AgPick continues to find ways to expand the tool’s capability at each business to accommodate industry requirements and keep pace with operational objectives to innovate.

“Farmers are looking for easier ways to do things. This is straight-forward and reasonably priced technology.”
– Paul Dydula, Paradise Fruits Enterprise.

Perfection Fresh logo
Nutrano Produce Group
Payce Foundation