top of page

University of Western Australia Research Team (Project Gravel)

Hatch Program 1

13 Nov 2021

University of Western Australia Research Team (Project Gravel)


Ironstone gravel soils make up approximately 3 million hectares of agricultural land in the
southwest of Western Australia, with further occurrences in South Australia and Victoria. However, grain growers usually consider ironstone gravels problematic due to their complex management. Dr Francesca Brailsford, Prof. Daniel Murphy from Murdoch University and Dr Rowan Maddern from GRDC West are studying the composition of gravels at Perth, Western Australia by using advanced tools and micro scanning technology to understand potential water and nutrient absorption by the gravel soils to increase crop profitability for growers, agronomists, or anybody with interest in ironstone gravels.

This project was included in the Hatch program to test the viability of utilising a venture creation route-to-market as a commercialisation option.

Validating the Idea

Researchers Fran and Daniel have conceptualised a diagnostic tool to test soil samples and gauge the phosphorous level to provide information specific to the paddock. As a result, more accurate estimates of fertiliser application could be made by growers. The team from Western Australia participated in the Hatch program to assess the commercial viability of their diagnostic tool, determine end users, develop a business plan for their product and gain grower feedback.

The gravel soil project funded by GRDC is divided into two phases - 1) concept development of gravel diagnostic tool 2) investigation of the commercial potential of the tool. While the trio has successfully completed phase 1, their participation in the Hatch program is guiding them in phase 2. After interviewing around ten customers and applying the learnings into the Leans Canvas model, the team identified that growers had tried alternative solutions to manage soils, which confirmed the need for their tool and gave them a critical insight on competitors.

Throughout the program, the team also identified that in addition to growers, others that offer services to growers might be more interested in the agronomic solutions they are offering.

I'm grateful that we were accepted for the Hatch Program. Apart from the high- quality taught content, we made some invaluable contacts and had a great coach who was well-aligned with helping us achieve our targets.

What's Next?

▪ Conduct ten additional interviews and continue applying the findings into the Lean Canvas model
▪ Develop a Minimum Viable Product using existing data and engage web development services to build a website to be launched in late February 2022 in preparation for attendance at an industry trade show
▪ Consider adding an intern into the team

Program Partners

bottom of page