In this episode we’re talking about irrigation and in particular plant sensors that are able to tell growers when their crops need water.

We speak to our regular podcast expert, Food Agility CRC chief scientist professor David Lamb about how the rising cost of water is driving adoption of plant sensors in high-value broadacre crops.

We’re joined by Athena IR-Tech CEO Jay Holata, who tells us about their Transp-IR technology which measures plant temperature, humidity and solar radiation to calculate when a crop needs water.

And we speak to South Australian viticulturist Hans Loder, who has been using the Transp-IR technology in conjunction with soil moisture probes to better understand the water needs of their vines, particularly during extreme weather events.



Jay Holata is the CEO of Athena IR-Tech and brings a background of technical and business leadership in companies such as Constellation Wines Australia, Accenture, and Schneider Electric. Throughout his career Jay has always had a technology thread running through each role he has had including leading Schneider Electric’s Demand and Supply Optimisation business where his team developed artificial intelligence-based planning and scheduling solutions for industries with complex supply chains such as wine, grain and mining. Jay has also owned and operated his own vineyard in McLaren Vale and brings a passion for technology, climate change and horticulture to his role at Athena IR-Tech.


Hans Loder is a geologist and viticulturist with 20 plus years’ field experience in collecting, managing and using data to extract insights. He’s a 2021 recipient of a Wine Australia funded Nuffield scholarship with the title “Here come the robots, but what do we do with the data?” Hans is researching practical data management solutions for viticulturists and how vineyards will change as automation, IoT devices, Machine Learning and AI become common place. He is also viticulturist for Penley Coonawarra, where he’s continually pushing convention and leveraging technology, in order to ensure viticultural integrity and sustainability.