Why Treasury Wine (ASX:TWE) is embracing robotic help

This robot isn’t coming for your job. It’s here to help.

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Woman drinking wine in a vineyard

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Treasury Wine Estates Ltd (ASX: TWE) is looking to employ some robotic help to optimise its wine grape yield predictions and improve autonomous crop spraying.

In an announcement today, The Yield Technology Solutions said it was partnering with Treasury Wine and Yamaha Motor Co in a new research and development project to trial the robot in Treasury’s vineyards.

Robotic timeline and goals

The trial is expected to begin in Australia later this year and in the United States next year.

The Yield will provide its microclimate, software, analytics, and artificial intelligence platform. Yamaha, which already provides robotic services for intensive irrigated crops in the US, will provide the robotics platform. Treasury Wine, of course, will provide the vineyards.

The goal of the trial is to improve the accuracy of grape harvest prediction as the robot collects visual data throughout the growing season. The trial will also test the robot’s ability to optimise spray effectiveness. This will be done via integrating weather data and spray guidelines.

What Treasury Wine management said

Greg Pearce, general manager of company vineyards at Treasury Wine Estates, said:

As custodian of some of the world’s most iconic wine brands and with a large global agricultural footprint, TWE is committed to taking an integrated approach to sustainability to manage risks and make the most of new, emerging opportunities.

TWE is focused on cultivating a brighter future for everyone who touches our business and products, and this includes investing in new technology and innovations to adapt to the climate trends impacting our business.

Pearce added the collaboration “brings together our viticulture and winemaking expertise with world-class robotics and automation”.

Jim Aota, CEO of Yamaha Motor Ventures and Laboratory Silicon Valley Inc, said: “We see this symbiotic relationship between analytics and robotics as the future for intensive irrigated crops. It is advantageous for customers and better for the environment.”

The Yield’s founder and managing director Ros Harvey added: “We know from customers in Australia that we can double the effective spray windows for robots using our patented microclimate and growth stage predictions.” 

Treasury Wine share price snapshot

After a difficult 2020, when Treasury Wine was affected not just by COVID but also by trade ructions that impacted Chinese wine imports, 2021 has seen a welcome turnaround for shareholders.

Year-to-date the Treasury Wine share price is up 25%. By comparison the S&P/ASX 200 Index (ASX: XJO) has gained 9% so far in 2021.

Treasury Wine pays a 1.9% dividend yield, fully franked.

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The Motley Fool Australia’s parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Bernd Struben has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia owns shares of and has recommended Treasury Wine Estates Limited. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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