The country's food producers are looking at automating a broad range of farm production to make better decisions on how they can produce more for the supply chain here and abroad.
Every aspect of digital technology available in Australia to efficiently simplify farming productivity is currently under the microscope as farmers take turns asking tech providers the most important details on what's possible or doable.
At the 'Big Tech, Big Ideas' two-day conference organised by the NSW Local Land Services at the Dubbo Regional Theatre and Convention Centre, John McGuren of Meat and Livestock Australia, said amid the growing demand for Australian red meat globally, farmers are quickly adopting technology to reduce production costs, yet producing efficiently.
"The ag sector is on a journey with technology adoption...with a high level of uptake on broad acre cropping and mixed cropping with crops and livestock," Mr McGuren, MLA project manager on digital agriculture, told his audience.
"We want to put to every producer out there that we have the programs to demonstrate how they can get involved in adopting these technologies and it can only work with participation."
MLA is helping to drive innovation on farms through research and development and managing projects with Australia's red meat producers.
At least 60 percent of Australia's red meat goes to more than 100 countries such as North Asia's market taking at least $5.28 billion and North America at $2.86 billion while domestically, red meat producers make $9.29 billion in sales annually.
Trials on innovations were successfully conducted at two of NSW's largest livestock producers, Carwoola Pastoral Company and Romani Pastoral Company, and the results were an "incredibly bright future" in red meat production, Mr McGuren said.
"We cannot ignore it, we now understand that automation, robotics, digitalisation, and data are very important to meet food production and customers' expectations... it's the reason why we have to produce more food," he said.
But adopting agricultural technology won't mean reducing the workforce, Mr McGuren said, because "new technology improves the efficiency and productivity on farms as well as improve the lives of workers better."
"What we see is it frees them up to do other tasks that value to productivity. Every situation would be different but technology gives farmers more time and gives them peace of mind that things on the farm are where they should be, the livestock is where they should be, and there's sufficient water and food in the system without him looking at them all the time."
The trials that researched over 700 types of technologies resulted in the agriculture sector engaging 15 types of technology providers to work with MLA such as Pair Tree, Maia Grazing Wilmot, Farmbot, Farm Labs, Axis Tech, Stone Axe, Agtech 360 and Skykelpie among others partnering with the industry.
For instance, GPS tracking, virtual fencing technology, e-Smart tagging and artificial intelligence platforms are being applied to sheep, goats, and cattle farms, Mr McGuren said.
The MLA website has more resources for farmers interested to understand how to take up or how to adopt some of the technologies.
Farmbot business development manager, Rachel Dunn, said their digital water monitoring system, an Australian invented technology being manufactured in Sydney, is now being widely marketed in the United States since it was launched eight years ago.
Farmers using Farmbot can monitor water levels on troughs and tanks remotely in real-time using cellular or satellite connections anywhere the tanks are situated on the farm, find out if their livestock is getting enough water in times of drought, detect leaks on tanks to save water resources, and faults on watering systems.
Large farms with multiple watering systems save time and money on daily water runs using their technology, Ms Dunn said with potential savings on labor costs at $10,400 and running vehicles at $6,864 annually.
"Farmers spend so much time physically checking out water and not knowing what's happening so developing this technology means they can check the water level on their phone in the morning and something productive knowing their stock have water and no issues."
Check out more exciting technology currently on the market from agricultural providers across the country by clicking the NSW government's Local Land Services website about the conference and connecting to trader stalls.
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