Wes’ passion for agriculture stems from his experience growing up on a mixed cropping farm near Moora in Western Australia. Now working as an agricultural analyst in Rabobank’s food and agribusiness research team, his insightful keynote will analyse how the pressures on global agriculture are mounting. ‘Push’ and ‘pull’ factors, such as changing consumer demand and the necessity to reduce agriculture’s environmental footprint are amplifying the pressures to produce a wider range of products, with less inputs.
Wes will unpack the way in which these ‘push’ and ‘pull’ factors, together with technology as an enabler, will substantially alter farming practices. His presentation will address the impacts which go beyond the farm operations, to governance and functionality, and ultimately how both risk and value are distributed along value-chains.
He comments, “As so far has always been the case, technology can provide us with the means to prevent global agriculture becoming a battlefield between affluent consumers and the environment (on the one hand) and those who don’t have access to adequate nutrition (on the other). Adopting the novelties that research in ICT (Information and Communications Technology), robotics, and biology provide and making them available to farmers worldwide through simple and beneficial applications, will allow us to cater for a more fragmented customer base.
“To date, the so-called ‘AgTech revolution’ – necessary to disrupt agriculture to enable it to meet changing demands and requirements, has had difficulty gaining momentum. The availability and application of new on-farm technologies has been resource-heavy, and slower than expected. New technologies often act in isolation to each other, meaning there is minimal mutual benefit and the efficiency gains made are mostly disproportionate to the financial and time resources spent.”
Hear Wes explore how the next phase of technological development will join the dots between isolated technologies – the result being technologies that can identify and solve problems without human intervention. “Many of these new technologies will enter agriculture, having been developed in other industries, speeding up the application of technology to solve agricultural problems.”