From autonomous machinery to improved connectivity through smartphones and in-paddock cattle weighing systems, rapidly evolving technology is having an increasingly large impact on farming in Australia.
That's according to a panel of experts at the AgSmart Expo in Tamworth.
Led by ACM Agriculture national machinery and agtech writer Melody Labinsky, the seminar session looked into the uptake of agtech and how it is shaping the future of farming.
The panel featured CASE IH ANZ Advanced Farming System product manager Sean McColley, Pairtree founder and fifth generation farmer Hamish Munro and NAB regional and agribusiness bank executive Warrick Grieve.
Mr McColley said whether it was being able to push data from the office to the machine or from the farm manager to the operator, connectivity was constantly improving.
"We struggle in the landscape that we are, we're so big and we've got variable reception issues but we'll work with that... that connectivity opens the door for a lot of future development," he said.
But the panel agreed that having adequate technical support is key to boosting adoption rates.
Mr Munro said agtech was still new to many farmers and apprehension was common.
"Everyone needs to work through these questions... 'if something doesn't work, how am I going to get it to work?'," he said.
Mr McColley said while the pandemic had hindered Case IH's ability to be able to provide in-person support, even in terms of attending field days, that was set to change in the near future.
"At the end of the day we get a lot of feedback on whether a product is good or bad and that's really important," he said.
Mr Grieve said from a banking perspective there was an increasing interest in loans to allow producers to invest in better equipment.
"Machinery is constantly changing and improving... [farmers are interested in] getting stuff into the ground when it needs to go into the ground and the spray rigs, a lot of our farming communities are looking at the WeedSeeker, trying to minimise the chemical costs particularly in the rising cost environment at the moment," he said.
"They're finding it hard to get the equipment at the moment, which is a challenge in itself."
Mr McColley said challenges in getting farm equipment was boosting the secondhand market, which was seeing equipment sell for good prices.
Managing data collection on farm was another key topic touched on during the seminar, with panellists iterating the importance of honing in on the data that you're interested in collecting and the reasons why to help shape strategy.
Mr Munro said in order to achieve the goal of $100 billion in farmgate output by 2030, the real gains were going to come out of hitting the upper limits of what could be done mechanically and using data to tweak that mechanical advantage.
"Where and how and who that data analyst is will be the interesting piece... I think that consultants are going to be really important and how those consultants work within an ecosystem," he said.
"Making sure there's value at the end of the day for the farmer is going to be the big thing because unless there's actually extra dollars in the bank then there won't be the adoption of the consultants.
"Data, if it's available on farm, can be integrated fairly cheaply so there is opportunity there, it's just about where those low hanging fruit are and what your goals and objectives are."
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