"The fruit grower was in tears … he had tried everything to make his Lockyer Valley farm flourish, but to no avail due to lack of water," says Karri, now CEO of IT firm Expert 365.
"I looked around and said to him that I didn't think he was irrigating properly and no amount of fertiliser was going to help if he couldn't get the right quantity of moisture at the right time into his soil.
"That was the turning point for me … the inspiration I needed to use my experience over years in several universities around the world to actually benefit the wider community."
Thus, Expert 365 was founded by Karri two years ago with computer science graduate John Pham. "Ours is a plant-centred approach to irrigation. We look at the soil type, its moisture content and electrical conductivity, the age of the plant, root depths, solar radiation and humidity to determine the precise amount of water needed to irrigate that specific site," he says.
Such precision control allows water savings of up to 10 per cent as well as increased yield.
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