Ag Tech News

Ag Tech News: Grain Growers Urged to 'Smarter' Farm.

In order to remain viable and sustainable in the long term, grain growers of Australian are being urged to farm 'smarter' not harder.

Technology adoption, improved data utilisation, more strategic research and development investment, farm business structure efficiency and 'best practice' farming system management promise to shape Australian agriculture over the next 50 years and will hold the key to boosting operational efficiencies and profitability.

Speaking at a Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) Farm Business update in Narrabri, NSW, grain grower and principal of Penberthy Agricultural Consultants (PenAgCon) Drew Penberthy said, “Australian agriculture in the future will be about improving the efficiency, sustainability and consistent supply of quality products. We need to make the business of farming valuable. For this to happen, more emphasis needs to be placed on farming system analysis of rotations, industry research and development (R&D), emerging data utilisation technologies, review of current farm structure and the perceived social value of agriculture to the wider community.”

The GRDC is investing in many of these areas including farming systems research, with a major project underway in the north aimed at improving the integrated management of weeds, diseases, pests, crop agronomy and water use efficiency.

Technology promises to transform farming practice and dramatically reduce fuel and labour costs with the introduction of innovations such as driverless tractors and robots that can target and kill herbicide resistant weeds and deliver accurate doses of fertiliser and fungicides.

Mr Penberthy said “Agronomists will still need the traditional knowledge of cropping systems, fertiliser regimes, field pathology and so on but they will also need to know about techniques to assess crop health based on analysis of the reflectance from crops and images captured from drones and/or satellites. In future this data will be captured from even more diverse sources."

Mr Penberthy said the industry would only reap the benefits through practice change and technology uptake, while excited by the opportunities facing Australian agriculture over the coming years.