Citrus case study - AgPickBook a demonstration


Empowering pickers and drivers

Ingy’s Citrus Pty Ltd is a South Australian, family-owned and operated grower-packer business specialising in horticultural production and packing for national and international markets. Based at Berri, in the Riverland, Ingy’s Citrus produces five citrus lines over 300 hectares for export and domestic consumption year ‘round. Its collaboration with AgPick prompted the development of the AgPick Orchard app.

The challenge

Eager technology adopters, Ingy’s Citrus, sought an automated solution to place control in the hands of pickers and tractor drivers, allowing them to work automously throughout the orchard.

Ingy’s Citrus director and fourth-generation producer Michael Ingerson approached AgPick in early 2022 with a specific need for a solution that would enable pickers to record their activities and enable drivers to count bins automatically.

Depending on the time of year, picker numbers vary from 10-15 in the orchard at any one time.

Ingy’s chief objectives were to achieve compliance with incoming piece-rate requirements (which preclude bin sharing) and provide a traceability function while saving time and creating efficiencies in manual data collection (counting bins and recording picker hours).

The solution

AgPick’s Orchard app – devised for Ingy’s Citrus but available for all orchard crop producers – is a “hands- off” GPS-driven solution that has two key functions to simplify harvest activities.

AgPick chief executive officer Henrietta Child says it suits operations where teams of pickers may be spread out over different blocks on different properties.

“With the first function, pickers can use their own (or farm-supplied) Android phones to record their start, finish and break times – data which is then used to calculate piece rates and uploaded directly to payroll for accurate payment. The app works with any Android phone and doesn’t rely on pickers having data contracts or sophisticated phones. It uses SMS technology,” she says.

“For a picker, it’s as simple as pressing ‘start’, ‘break’ or ‘finish’ to record their activity.

Citrus case study - AgPick

“It’s very clearly displayed in bright colours and lettering which is easy to understand by anyone. To prevent errors, the functionality is set so that data cannot be processed if the picker is not on the property.”

AgPick Orchard also records activity for full or partial bins, including the bin location.

AgPick’s web portal’s editing function allows times to be booked, added or adjusted. This information goes through the piece-rate calculator where daily wages are calculated with top-ups, saved and uploaded to payroll reports. The app uploads direct to Xero or other payroll systems.

The second key function allows tractor drivers to pinpoint the exact location of bins and remain seated while counting.

When a bin is ready for collection, pickers select that option on their phone’s screen. The information – the unique bin number and its location – then appears on the driver’s tablet screen via a bin list and map. This saves time and messaging between pickers and drivers and is clear, accurate information.

“Drivers use the map and bin list to plan their route in the orchard to pick up bins. Drivers also don’t have to get in and out of the tractor to scan a bin – they click ‘collected’ on the bin’s number and that accounts for the bin.”

Until a bin is collected, it is marked “unverified”.

To set up the system to work seamlessly, AgPick first loads farm maps of blocks and allocates pre-set teams to blocks for pickers working in teams.

Citrus case study - AgPick

The outcome

“Pickers work in jobs and locations they’ve been assigned to and the farmer knows where people are at all times. The system works particularly well for operations that rely on seasonal workers and employees. However, if producers are using casual labour hire, the system can be set up for that too and supplier payment can be calculated,” Henrietta says.

“Likewise, if a grower wants to record work times only, we can turn the bin counting function off.”

For Michael Ingerson, the app – trialed in 2022 and implemented in 2023 – has met his operation’s objectives. He estimates it will save 15 hours a week in manual data collection.

AgPick Orchard is highly flexible and customisable and can also be implemented as an additional function to the AgPick Blue app, which provides a more managed function.

Ingy's Citrus logo