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40 Under 40

A new way to monitor the weather

40 Under 40

Damon Grace, the Director of agtech startup COtL, won the 40 Uner 40 Rural and Regional Award for his company’s solution to combat agricultural spray drift.

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In 2018, Grace took a risk and quit his career as a respected environmental engineer to return home to Adelaide to co-found private weather network disruptor COtL.

The innovative agricultural technology startup establishes and manages high-quality public weather station networks in agricultural regions. These weather station networks – also known as ‘Mesonets’ – provide reliable data in real-time for a range of metrics including temperature, rainfall, frost, fire danger and spray drift hazard alerts.

“The Mesonets provide a wealth of value to agricultural communities and growers,” Grace said.

“A key differentiator is their ability to combat agricultural spray drift – an issue thought to cost the SA agricultural industry hundreds of millions of dollars each year and with a worryingly unknown impact on human health.

“The Mesonets use cutting-edge meteorological science and sensor technology, and are a truly world-leading initiative.”

Grace is now project managing the $2.25M expansion into the Limestone Coast.

By 2023, the Mesonets will have covered over half of all of SA’s agricultural regions and Grace is aiming to see all of SA’s agricultural land covered by a Mesonet within the next five years, and to simultaneously expand into other relevant states and countries.

Grace said the Mesonets are not only providing great value to regional communities and growers, but the high-quality reliable real-time data is very useful to a range of industries including emergency services, power networks and R&D institutes.

“The Mesonet is arguably fast becoming thought of as ‘critical infrastructure’ which is incredible considering it has only existed for a few years,” he said.

“Our future Limestone Coast Mesonet will differentiate between hazardous and non-hazardous inversions, and I have coded some preliminary machine learning to show that we can retroactively apply this world-leading breakthrough to our existing networks.”

The Rural and Regional Award was presented by BusinessSA in recognition of Grace’s work that contributes to the prosperity of a rural or regional business and community.

The agtech industry leader now joins the 200 alumni of South Australia’s 40 Under 40, a leadership network that is gaining influence across the state.

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