Presenter: David Lamb, Precision Agriculture Research Group, University of New England, Armidale NSW 2351, Australia
About David: David is a physicist who has worked in ‘Precision Agriculture’ (PA) for over 20 years, initially on the early use of GPS, airborne video remote sensing, crop yield monitoring and electromagnetic soil surveying. He runs the University of New England’s Precision Agriculture Research Group (www.une.edu.au/parg) ; a multidisciplinary team of academic, research and technical staff working on industry-funded projects across rain-fed and irrigated cropping, livestock and and horticulture (including viticulture) enterprises. David leads the university’s SMART Farm project (www.une.edu.au/smartfarm) and is also the Science Director (Agriculture, NRM and Climate Change) for the CRC for Spatial Information (www.crcsi.com.au) .d
About the Talk: Our Smart Farming Future
The role of internet in agriculture is fast approaching its ‘third wave’; ‘Wave 1′ was connecting people to data via www (1990’s); ‘Wave 2′ connecting people to people, viz, Facebook and Twitter (2000’s); and ‘Wave 3′ will now connect people to ‘things’ (2010-). Advances in wireless sensor networks coupled with in-situ, low-cost plant, animal and asset sensors; the so-called ‘internet of things’, means our farms and field will become sources of high quality, local yet synoptic, real-time management data. But all this talk about ‘Big data’ is not helping- it smacks of a tech-push. Big data is made of lots of small data; some of it will be useful to management decisions- both tactical and strategic, other data will not. Telecommunications is a key enabling part of our smart farming future too. While there is lots of news around NBN and the big telco providers, there is a quiet evolution (or is it ‘revolution’) taking place with on farm radio networks and second tier-telco service providers all playing a role. Education and extension is an important components too. A recent survey identified that more that 60% of Austalian farmers did not know of on-farm connectivity options or who to talk to about getting connected. This presentation will outline some of the innovations in sensors and other data gathering technologies appearing on farms and discuss some of the challenges and opportunities of getting connected into the SMART farming future that, in 5-10 years will just be farming.