Jonathan Legault

Managing Director at Corematic

Unlike other industries, it’s rare to find a business in Australia’s agricultural industry with an in-house research and development (R&D) team. Instead, farmers and other producers often rely on external engineering teams or large OEM to discuss their R&D needs.

This externalisation of R&D leads many local producers to go to international manufacturing companies to source their equipment—and who can blame them? 

It’s an easy option, but is it the best one?

Farm products on offer by large multinationals tend to be uniform in nature and, like trying to put a square peg in a round hole, they’re not always fit for purpose—let alone cost-effective.

The Australian Government currently invests around $250 million per year towards rural R&D, supplemented by competitive grants. While this may seem impressive, by comparison the US invests about 50 times more per capita into the development of agricultural technologies. Yes 50 times more!

At COREMATIC, we identified the urgent need for custom and affordable R&D in agriculture

When Australian farmers go to large multinationals seeking a solution to their unique engineering problems, it’s almost always a lengthy process from start to finish.

It usually begins with market research to investigate if there’s any commercial viability before there’s any real progress towards a product—and even then, it’s likely not going to be a result that’s tailored to the individual client’s needs due to the demands of mass market.

Bigger isn’t always better

At COREMATIC, we become our clients’ private R&D team in order to give our clients the competitive edge.

There’s no red tape.

We don’t need approval from marketing to start a project. Instead, we’re responsive, flexible and able to bring to bear next-level knowledge and a specialist network of experts and contractors efficiently and economically to make the magic happen. 

Our strength is our listening power

We had a customer who approached a multinational which quoted an initial budget of $350,000 with the project unable to commence for a few years. When this client mentioned it to us, we convince him this was totally unreasonable. We managed to prove it by successfully completing the project under $100,000 and within three months.

Another farmer came to us seeking a control system for a sweet potato harvester. The client had already received a quote from a much larger company of approximately $150,000 for a solution that used clunky, outdated technology—we managed to do it for under $70,000 with cutting-edge technology.

Let me tell you a secret, technology is not as expensive as most large OEM wants you to believe. We are confident that more than 80% of the time, a reliable and cost cutting alternative solution exist.

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Developing custom engineering solutions doesn’t need to break the bank

Many large companies have equally large overheads—but not us. We keep our costs down thanks to automated admin process or balancing our FTE and contractors ratio, so we don’t need to price gouge our clients.

Our advance automated work process as allow us to work efficiently remotely, cutting costs on large office related expenses without compromising on quality or service. One of the major lessons of COVID-19 has been staff working from home—the team at COREMATIC has been across this since our inception, so is well-versed in maintaining productivity out of office.

We give the local agricultural industry access to engineers who can handle any project

Whether it’s software, hardware, vision systems, control systems, process integration or more—COREMATIC creates and designs custom and affordable solutions for our clients. 

We’re sensitive to the needs of Australian farmers and producers, helping them to innovate by realising they don’t have to wait for big companies to create something new—they can take control and come to us to develop incredible new technologies straight away.

Other industries are taking the lead—the Australian Bureau of Statistics reveals that, for the 2017-2018 financial year, business expenditure on R&D was highest for professional, scientific and technical services (around $5,113 million) followed by manufacturing (about $4,599 million).

For the same period, the expenditure of agriculture, forestry and fishing businesses on R&D was less than $500 million—a sobering statistic, but one that COREMATIC is hoping to change.

In this respect, our team is proud to already be working closely with many small and large farmers and producers in Australia including the likes of Greensill, Australia’s largest sweet potato grower. We’re also working with many macadamia farmers looking to develop technology to automatically count nuts and monitor accurately their yield per tree.

The message is clear: don’t wait, innovate!