Many companies have looked at using blockchains to assist with supply chain tracing and data reporting that is more efficient than what less sophisticated logistic substructure allows. In Australia, a report has surfaced about a pilot program conducted by grain-exporting giant and co-operative CBH and blockchain startup AgriDigital, who together will test blockchain tech's capability to track oats. Though it is unclear which blockchain platform this program will be using, AgriDigital has experimented with Ethereum in the past.
The blockchain management pilot is set to launch next week. CBH chief executive Andy Crane says that if it is successful, the pilot could eventually pave the way to encompass the annually AUD $4 billion Western Australia grain crop industry in the years to follow. He explained, "Even for large volume commodities the ability to prove the path of origin is very valuable."
According to the report, CBH's oats processor Blue Lake Milling is the site where testing is scheduled to take place. Determinations will be made based on the results of applying the technology to products that include organic grains and whole grain crops. In addition to settling origin and quality assurance issues, the system is also enabled to manage title matching and payment transfer.
Crane expressed a necessity for co-operative grain growers to be able to compete in a growing global marketplace. He said:
"As a [Western Australian] company, we think about agriculture with an export mindset and when we look to Asia, we are trying to get best value for our grain growers in a very competitive world market. One of best ways to do that is to prove it to customers and the end user. Anything allowing proof of provenance can create value to Australia, given we are considered a reliable and high quality producer."
During December of 2016, AgriDigital performed a transaction settlement on a private Ethereum blockchain for a grain sale between Australian farmer David Whillock and Fletcher International Exports in Dubbo, New South Wales. This was the first time a grower and buyer in the agricultural industry utilized blockchain technology as a means of transaction settlement.
Crane, among other CBH managers and directors, had reportedly taken a trip to Silicon Valley earlier in the year; a journey which exposed the benefits that this technology can provide to the field of agriculture.
"We have looked at blockchain and many other technologies. We are at the cusp of a great opportunity with big data. The ability to combine data sets and analyse them, and AI-type opportunities – the combination of all sorts of applications to agriculture is set to improve productivity."