Agriculture goes high tech

By HANNAH TURNER

The world’s population is expected to reach 9.7 billion by 2050, creating a massive push for farmers to implement more modern technology to improve production capabilities.

The increase in people is causing global agriculture production to rise by 69 per cent.

Commonwealth scientific and industrial research organisation Australia (CSIRO) are currently looking at how agriculture could be digitally integrated at all stages of production in the future.

The use of new technology has the potential to skyrocket agriculture into a $100bn industry by 2030.

West Australian Farmer Frank James said that some advances in technology could be helpful but not all.

“I think there will be a place for some of it, but I can’t see how headers and tractors can operate on their own because of all of the variables that could go wrong,” he said.
Phone apps, smart ear tags for livestock, soil sensors and virtual fencing are some of the many options for today’s farmers to revolutionise the industry.

Drone technology is gradually being implemented into Australian farms to provide immediate live footage of crops and livestock, giving farmers real-time data on irrigation, weeds and livestock health.

Mr James said they could be useful to check water troughs during summer.

“Troughs in the hot weather, you’ve got to check them once everyday in case they block up or run over, otherwise you’ve got dead sheep pretty quick,” he said.

The CSIRO is also helping farmers reduce their environmental impact.

It has developed an app that uses sensors, satellites and smart analytics to help sugarcane farmers minimise their environmental impact on The Great Barrier Reef.

In addition, its Looc-c website allows farmers to quickly assess eligible carbon reducing projects to evaluate their options to reduce their emissions and receive carbon credits.

For more about Frank James’s farming journey, read Hannah’s profile feature:

Pandemic just another chapter in family’s farming story

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