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Melbourne Crop


Liam Burns & Joel Cheung


AlterraTech co-founders Liam Burns and Joel Cheung are developing a retro fit system that focuses on reducing the use of herbicides in agriculture as they endeavour to reduce the overuse of chemicals in farming and improve profitability for farmers.

It works like this. Instead of a blanket crop spray where an entire crop receives a dousing of herbicide, imagine instead a box that when attached to farm machinery that can sense the presence of an undesirable pest or bug and spray it specifically, not the surrounding plants.

The crop and soil are exposed to less chemicals, the environment receives less herbicide and the farmers and the plants are on a positive path to a cleaner, greener crop and business.

Melbourne-born Liam - who while doing his double degree in Climatology and Commerce -  started shaping an idea to integrate robotics and sustainable farming enabling a point where global agriculture can become a net carbon sink. Over the last eight years, he has lived in China, the US and UK never losing sight of the concept.

Joel Cheung is an Australian citizen who grew up in Hong Kong. He returned to Australia to study a degree in computer science. He and Liam met at an RMIT technology event. Joel saw potential in the idea and put his studies for his honours thesis aside to work on Alterra.

Considered by a farmer who was learning about the system as, “the Tesla or agriculture.” There are limitless possibilities for AlterraTech.

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