Power Equipment Australasia

Australia’s honey bee industry produces the world’s best honey, however, Mr Weatherhead said it also plays a critical part in pollinating horticultural and agricultural crops, as well as some crops used for livestock grazing. “Without honey bees our dinner plates would look vastly different, with more than a third of our food relying on honey bees for pollination,” he said. “In Australia, 35 industries depend on honey bee pollination with almonds, apples, avocadoes, blueberries, cucumbers, pumpkins, and rockmelons 100 per cent reliant on honey bee pollination services. “Ensuring we can detect any biosecurity issues at the border is essential to protecting our beekeeping industry and the many industries that provide nutritious food for Australians.” COLES NURTURE FUND TO PROVIDE GRANTS TO DRIVE INNOVATION AND SUSTAINABILITY Australian food and beverage producers were invited to apply for financial support from the Coles Nurture Fund to help them drive innovation and sustainability. Coles had opened a new round of the Coles Nurture Fund to provide grants of up to $500,000 for small businesses to develop new market-leading products, processes and technologies. Coles General Manager Corporate Affairs Sally Fielke encouraged small and medium sized businesses to apply for financial support from the Coles Nurture Fund ahead of the deadline on February 25, 2022. “At Coles, we aim to drive generational sustainability in Australia and one of the ways we believe we can do this is by funding innovative projects which make a significant difference - whether it’s increasing recycling and renewable energy, reducing water use or supporting the local production of Australian food and beverages,” Ms Fielke said. Businesses with innovative ideas, fewer than 50 full time employees and turnover of less than $25 million in annual revenue were eligible to apply. Since it was established in 2015, the Coles Nurture Fund has committed more than $28 million in financial support to over 80 Australian producers to help them introduce ground-breaking technology, establish new products and drive innovation and sustainability. Previous projects funded by the Coles Nurture Fund range from Australia’s first quinoa processing facility, to fence posts made from recycled plastic, and a stateof-the-art factory to grow grass indoors. In 2021, the Coles Nurture Fund provided a $455,000 grant to NSW agricultural business, Sawmill Circuit, to purchase a large vacuum truck which will collect manure from 18 dairy farms in Nowra so that it can be transported to a biogas plant which is being built in the local area. Once collected, the manure will be converted to renewable energy and put back into the grid. BEEM IT TO HELP SMALL BUSINESSES GIVE CASHBACK REWARDS TO CUSTOMERS Australia’s home-grown digital wallet and payments app Beem It – issued by Digital Wallet Pty Ltd which is part of the eftpos group – is launching a powerful new rewards feature to empower small businesses to create bespoke rewards and offers. The new customisable debit rewards feature, called Beem Rewards, will give 1.5m Beem customers the potential to earn cashback on their spend (terms and conditions apply), and receive offers and rewards from small businesses that join the program. It also features a “map view” that enables customers to discover which small businesses are making offers and where. Digital Wallet, through Beem It, has plans to build an Australian digital marketplace that aims to deliver on the unique needs of Australian consumers and merchants, and flourish through facilitating exceptional customer experiences. Beem It Chief Executive Mark Britt said the rewards landscape was going through significant change and was set for a big shake-up with the new Beem Rewards program. Mr Britt said the new feature will allow small retailers to create tailor-made offers for their customers through Beem. “Beem Rewards is a major new capability that propels the much-loved local digital wallet well beyond its renowned core social payments functionality – like splitting bills, keeping shouts civil and paying back mates,” he said. “It helps consumers that opt in to support Aussie businesses and potentially get something back in return. “After two really tough years, Aussies understand it’s time to back local businesses. Beem Rewards gives businesses a potent new platform to connect with customers and foster better understood relationships.” The Beem Rewards feature is built around better experiences for both customers and merchants alike, via offers tailored from both ends to achieve a great fit. Rewards funds return to a “jar” within a participating customer’s wallet which can be cashed out to a nominated debit card (terms and conditions apply). Small businesses wanting to sign up for a trial can do so by visiting : www.beemit.com.au/beemrewards JOHN DEERE ANNOUNCES FIRST AUTONOMOUS TRACTOR FOR LARGESCALE PRODUCTION The unveiling of John Deere’s first entirely autonomous tractor for largescale use at the prestigious CES® 2022 Awards in Las Vegas has placed autonomous technology at the farmgate, with the machine on course to be available to farmers in the US as early as this year. The tractor combines John Deere’s popular 8R Tractor, TruSet™-enabled chisel plough, and GPS guidance system to deliver the next iteration of farming innovation in a product that will be ideally suited to meet the demands of broadacre cropping in Australia with unprecedented efficiency. John Deere Managing Director Australia/New Zealand, Luke Chandler, said the tractor was the culmination of industry-leading technology and a dedicated vision to provide farmers with NEWS 6 | POWER EQUIPMENT AUSTRALASIA | MARCH - APRIL 2022