Improving animal welfare, management practices and motivating staff were some of the benefits highlighted in a panel discussion about adopting agtech on farm.
The discussion was held at last week's Australian National Field Days at Borenore, as part of the NSW Department of Primary Industry's Farms of the Future program.
Australian Farmer of the Year Tess Herbert, Eugowra, producer Chris Hogendyk, Lower Lewis Ponds, and livestock trader Andrew Dowd, Borenore, spoke about their experiences in using different technology as part of their businesses.
Mrs Herbert, who runs a mixed operation with a feedlot, cropping, and livestock, said labour shortages were the main driver behind the move into remote monitoring.
Adoption started in their feedlot, where everything was measured, but she was now moving it to other areas of the business.
The operation now used about 17 different apps or software, meaning integration and data sharing was crucial.
Mrs Herbert said the 6000 head of feedlot cattle were weighed daily and using an OptiWeigh allowed her and staff to ensure the backgrounding cattle were at the correct weight for feedlot entry.
She no longer had to pay someone to walk fences, as any failures had an app notification, and the change in staff's mindsets was an unexpected benefit of allowing tech to take care of some of the more mundane work.
"It's changing their thinking - they're not just robotically going out and doing the same thing. They're using data to make decisions," she said.
Mr Hogendyk said it was the lack of communications connectivity that drove him to investigate better agtech options.
"To run a business these days, and from a safety perspective, we really need to have communications all the time," he said.
He encouraged anyone looking at adopting tech on farm to do their research and be careful with subscription-based programs.
The animal welfare side of remote monitoring, through programs such as FarmBot, was a huge benefit.
"When you've got three stud bulls sitting in a paddock you want to be sure they'll be alive when you get back," he said.
Mr Dowd started with FarmBot systems on his own property where he traded cattle, but also on his mother's farm, where she lived alone an hour away.
Being able to keep an eye out for any water issues from anywhere in the world gave great peace of mind, he said.
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