INNOVATION doesn’t require investment – it requires attention – and that’s exactly what the country’s best young farmers are sinking into their businesses.
The latest research from the Commonwealth Bank’s Agri Insights shows young farmers (those aged under 44) are more prepared to innovate on their farms than their older peers.
Sixty per cent of younger farmers say they will do their own research, compared with 47pc of older farmers; while 55pc of younger farmers say they will join innovation focused networks compared with 37pc of their older counterparts.
More than half of younger farmers (53pc) also say they will seek opportunities to collaborate, compared with 37pc of older farmers, while 39pc of younger farmers say they will engage specialists, compared with 27pc of older farmers.
The bank’s research showed young farmers are thinking of innovation in very practical terms.
“We’re seeing a lot of young farmers coming back to the land having studied. Their willingness to perform research is shown through a combination of desktop research, feed trials, working with research bodies, and looking at new technologies like sensors and drones,” said the bank’s executive general manager regional and agribusiness banking, Grant Cairns.
“These farmers aren’t just innovating in terms of how they structure their businesses but also how they open themselves up to expert advice, contractors and other networks.”
Mr Cairns said while the research demonstrated young farmers’ willingness to innovate, 47pc of farmers over 45 are still investing in innovations.
He said the word innovation could intimidate some.
“A lot of people associate innovation with technology rather than recognising it is about improving processes, external advice, and doing research. It’s also about collaborating and diversifying.”
On the whole, the data showed farmers see the strongest innovation opportunities lie in adapting their products, with 41pc saying there was good or great opportunity to do so.