7:00am | Registration, Breakfast, Exhibition


8:30am | Welcome
8.55am | Keynote Speaker, David Lamb: Digital Agriculture- Boom, bubbles or BS? How is it shaping up so far?


McClymont Distinguished Professor (Research) of the University of New England Chief Scientist, Food Agility CRC Ltd.


Presentation Synopsis

There is an emerging school of thought that Agriculture is now in its 5th revolution. Following the adoption of modern agriculture (pre-1900), we had post WW1 war mechanization (1920s), the green revolution of the 60s-70s and now, of course the digital revolution. But are we now in the ‘talking revolution’? There is a wave of digital and technology-enabled solutions coming our way. But as a local farmer said to me late last year, ‘don’t give me solutions, solve my problem!!’. And how will we do that? Google ‘agtech trends in agriculture’ and you’ll see waffle around the ‘3 trends’, no ‘4 trends’, woops ‘6 trends’, hang on- its ‘11 trends’. No wonder confusion reigns. 

Irrespective of which trends will do what, a blog posted from CSIRO colleagues early last year nailed it beautifully. “A key challenge is to find simplicity on the far side of complexity”. Note the emphasis on ‘far side’, which I think is important. We have lots of valuable lessons to learn from what these new technologies offer us. So what’s the rush? Why so many start-ups rushing out of the gate with a clever idea offering solutions? And to what purpose? To better meet the needs of producers, or to on-sell their business to a larger business? Who wins?  

Ending up at a simple solution may be better served from hard lessons learned amongst the weeds of detail and complexity and this will take time. Perhaps the 6th revolution will be to smell the R&D roses and take our time. 

This presentation will revisit some of the game changer technologies sprouted during the past couple of years and look at where we are today: remote sensing, robotics, blockchain, animal sensing and virtual fencing, smart imaging to name a few. 


David is a physicist who has worked in precision agriculture for more than 25 years and led more than 40 industry-funded R&D projects. David established the University of New England’s Precision Agriculture Research Group, and the internationally renowned SMART Farm project. He recently completed  national reviews of telecommunications challenges and opportunities for Australian agriculture as well as for the livestock feedlot sector. He is a member of the National Positioning Infrastructure Advisory Board and is an advisor on a number of agricultural sector-specific technical innovation groups and communities of interest. David currently serves as the UNE-hosted, Chief Scientist in Food Agility, a $150M+, 10 year Cooperative Research Centre focussed on transforming the agrifood sector using the power of digital. David is also the Australian representative for the International Society for Precision Agriculture. In 2016 he received the McClymont Distinguished Professorship (Research) at UNE in recognition of his ongoing service to agriculture innovation and research leadership.

9:30am | Keynote Speaker, Tim Gentle: Virtual saleyards and other implications for augemented reality in farming


Think Digital


Only a few years ago, the prospect of augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) playing a meaningful role in Australian agriculture with tangible, practical applications seemed idealistic. Tim will be bringing the realm of Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality to life for TECHSPO delegates in this keynote presentation, discussing practical ways in which this technology can be utilised on farms to assist with asset management, providing greater industry visibility, facilitating staff training and inductions and more. Tim will also be showcasing a whole new way of selling livestock via a virtual auction environment; a glimpse into the future of livestock sales in an increasingly globalised market. 

Specialising in “Immersive Technologies in Agriculture”, Tim is uniquely placed to unpack the practical application of augmented reality and virtual reality on farms, and the role that these technologies can play in the future of agriculture. 



Founder and Director of Think Digital, self proclaimed Digital Crusader, Educator & Entrepreneur, Tim is an advocate for regional, rural and remote Australia.

Tim’s speciality is “Immersive Technologies in Agriculture”. He has created #FarmVR and #FarmAR – Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality farming experiences to help educate people where their food comes from and to inspire them to consider agriculture as a career pathway. Tim will be unpacking the practical application of augmented reality and virtual reality on farms, and the role that these technologies can play in the future of agriculture.


10:00am | Morning Tea & Exhibition


11:10am | Keynote Speaker, David Beatty: Ag Tech - Why Bother? General Livestock Technologies and MLA's Investment Strategy


Program Manager – Value Chain Research, Development and Adoption, Meat & Livestock Australia


The area of Agriculture Technology and Innovation has rapidly expanded as more reliable on-farm connectivity solutions have been developed. For producers this has created exciting opportunities to improve efficiencies and increase profitability on farm. With this  rapid expansion and sheer volume of Ag Tech providers that have appeared in the market, comes challenges and uncertainties for those interested in investing in on farm technologies.   

This presentation will explore Ag Tech solutions relevant to red meat producers across the supply chain and how they are linked to consumer expectations. It will focus on what solutions may be required that are fit for purpose and importantly how benefit versus cost must be part of any decisions to implement Ag Tech on farm.


David is a veterinarian with a PhD and background in agriculture research. In 2009, David joined Meat and Livestock Australia as the Live Export R&D Manager. Between 2012 and 2017 he was based in the Middle East firstly as the MLA Livestock Services Manager and then as the MLA International Business Manager for the MENA region.  

Now based in Western Australia, David is the Program Manager for value chain research, development and adoption. This role focuses on identifying opportunities and issues across the value chain for WA stakeholders and ensuring WA producers have access to MLA programs and initiatives. David is also responsible for the MLA on farm R&D team.  

This presentation will explore Ag Tech solutions relevant to red meat producers across the supply chain and how they are linked to consumer expectations. It will focus on what solutions may be required that are fit for purpose, and importantly how benefit versus cost must be part of any decisions to implement AgTech on farm.


11:45am | Keynote Speaker, Andrew Bate: Small Machines. Big Technology - the impact of Robotics in Agriculture and what's coming next


SwarmFarm Robotics


Returning for his second TECHSPO, co-founder and CEO of SwarmFarm Robotics Andrew Bate is the chief visionary of the Swarmbot, leveraging his experience as a successful grain and cattle farmer and his deep knowledge of robotics. Andrew has spent a life time in agriculture; he has trained as an agronomist, and has spent the last 19 years farming near Emerald, Central Queensland. He is also a mentor on the Westpac Business of Tomorrow Program.

 Andrew will be discussing the role of robotics in agriculture and how this drives efficiency for farmers.


As co-founder and CEO of SwarmFarm Robotics, Andrew Bate is the chief visionary, leveraging his experience as a successful grain and cattle farmer and his deep knowledge of robotics to drive the successful development of the SwarmBot. Andrew has spent a life time in agriculture; he has trained as an agronomist, and has spent the last 19 years farming near Emerald, Central Queensland. 


12:15pm | Question Time Panel with David Lamb, Tim Gentle, David Beatty and Andrew Bate
12:35am | Lunch & Exhibition


1:50pm | AgTech Pitch Fest
An exciting pitch involving the brightest up and coming entrepreneurs in Australian AgTech today.

2.05pm | Breakout 1: Future Crops and Systems

Fran Lopez-Ruiz | Small machines, big impact!
Join fungicide resistance researchers from the Centre for Crop and Disease Management as they unveil their latest mobile technology aimed at bringing research out of the lab and into the paddock. Discover how the CCDM has been working to create a new small, yet powerful tool, aimed at improving the detection and understanding of fungicide resistance in WA crops.


Lars Kamphuis | How a wild history is helping to shape a profitable future
Join Centre for Crop and Disease Management’s Lars Kamphuis as he shares latest information on important wild chickpeas research and what this means for the future of chickpea production in WA. Learn how building genetic diversity could open up opportunities for developing new, resilient varieties and the impact this work will have on potential expansion of this valuable crop in Western Australia now and into the future.


Ann Maree O'Callaghan | Superfood Global Trends – Local Opportunities and Challenges for Growers to Innovate with New Systems
Industrial hemp, flax, and bushfoods such as Gubinge (Kakadu Plum) are examples of alternative crops attracting attention due to the global trend in “superfoods”.  The functional food from processed hemp, flax and Gubinge are all labelled as “superfoods”. These nutrient packed foods are rising sharply in popularity and consumer awareness.

While there are opportunities and challenges throughout the supply chain to capture value, our research and prefeasibility work focused on these super food crops has identified eight key focus areas that are critical for success. They include knowledge of the plant and its agronomy; cultivar development; processing technologies and systems; a whole supply chain focus; development of end products and markets; working together in partnership and collaborating; and attracting finance.


Question Time | Panel

2.05pm | Breakout 2: Livestock Value Add and Processing

Michele Lally | The opportunity for micro abattoirs in the livestock industry
Michele Lally is a Paddock to Plate expert in the food industry after driving the conversion of her family farm from an unviable conventional mixed farm of 1500 acres to an award winning, ecologically, socially and financially viable, regenerative farming model which delivers over 70 products  4 grass fed species to 15 locations weekly.

She built South Australia’s first on-farm small scale red meat abattoir and has since started designing and manufacturing custom built units around Australia and off shore.


Chris Balazs | On farm livestock processing: The holy grail of Paddock to Plate
Journey of creating Australia’s first on farm processing unit including challenges from consumer, farmer, regulator and tech perspective.  


Patrick Page | Legalities around micro abattoirs and other service kill options
Question Time | Panel

2.05pm | Breakout 3: Transformational Farming

James Pateras | Farming in the future... today!
The exclusive Modular Farm System is a complete indoor vertical farming system capable of producing fresh, healthy plants, 24 hours a day, virtually anywhere in the world, in any climate. Modular Farm units have a close-loop hydroponic system and are fully sealed for complete climate control, reducing water usage by up to 90 per cent. “Reducing food waste, increasing food security, and eliminating supply chain logistics to cut food miles are what we aim to do with Modular Farms technology.” 



Kim Brooksbank | Biomass and other on farm waste potential
We used to talk about trees on farms in terms of their landcare benefits and with mallees, the chance to one day create a eucalyptus oil industry, but over the last few years we have seen developments around the world that have changed the game. There are now commercial scale operations that are creating products from all types of biomass that were once only produced from mineral oil. For example, there are now a few companies interntionally making the raw materials for PET plastic from cereal straw. We now have a company making high quality Eucalyptus oil from mallees in WA selling into the international market, and that market is 100 times bigger than what they are able to supply at the moment, so there are real opportunities for expansion to feed that market. There are companies in Europe and America making renewable diesel from wood waste. This isn’t biodiesel that needs to be blended to work in an engine, but a product that is exactly the same as mineral diesel and can be used at 100% in any diesel engine. A tonne of mallee wood can be turned into 400 litres of diesel. And we now have the technology to desalinate water using biomass that could allow farmers to make their own clean water from their own salt water and their own trees. There are many more innovations on the horizon, but these examples are ready to roll right now. The future that has been promised for so long where we have multiple uses for the trees grown on farms is finally here.
Tom Frost | ‘Beyond NPK’ – Re-mineralisation and soil biology
Question Time | Panel
3.15pm | Afternoon Tea, Exhibition, Demonstration

3.30pm | Breakout 4: Digital Ag - IoT and World of Sensors

Andrew Slade | Digitisation of Agriculture: Farming in the Digital Age
How can innovative technology solutions help farmers produce more in an environmentally, economically and socially viable way?
Question addressed by:

Kieran Coupe from Wildeye

Mike Kirke from Rural Data Management Services

Michael Atkins from Farmbot

Kenny Sabir from AgriWebb 


Question Time | Panel

3.30pm | Breakout 5: Health and Wellness - Value add in livestock

Dr Mark Ferguson | The Augmented Shepherd
Luke Wheat | Protein for Livestock
Lachlan Campbell | Same movie, different stars
David Miller | Let's take the stress out of Animal Welfare Monitoring
Question Time | Panel

3.30pm | Breakout 6: Machines, Drones and More

Jacquie Gabb | Creating farms of the future – Removing the human factor
Is it as scary as it sounds? NTT DATA will share the latest insights on innovative technologies and how they are changing the agriculture landscape, improving safety of our farmers and increasing yields by removing the human factor. Drones, autonomous machinery, artificial intelligence and automation; the future of agriculture.  
Andrew Guzzomi | Mechanical Weed Chipper
Dr Andrew Guzzomi from the University of WA was the chief engineer for a new mechanical weeding machine which may help change the face of fallow weed control across Australia’s broadacre grains industry. The Weed Chipper is the outcome of 3-year GRDC funded project and has been touted as the next answer in the fight against herbicide-resistant weeds.
Cameron Leeson | Robotics
Cameron Leeson is founder of Australian company thingc Robotics, who are at the forefront of agricultural robotics, developing an on-demand workforce of robots with a myriad of applications. Their on-demand workforce is made up of fully autonomous, Artificial Intelligence-powered robots that are flexible enough to accommodate a range of tools/accessories, allowing them to perform a range of farming functions throughout the season.
Glenn McTaggart & Jonathon Smith | The latest in UAV technology with aerial applications 
Question Time | Panel
4:30pm | All delegates return to Plenary


4:35pm | Keynote Speaker, Wes Lefroy: Time to get strategic about AgTech Adoption


Agricultural Analyst, RaboResearch Food and Agribusiness


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. 


Wes’ role is cross-sectoral, primarily focussed on ag land and AgTech, in addition to fertiliser and grains & oilseeds. Last year saw the publication of Rabobank’s inaugural ag land report, “No Summit in Sight: Ag land prices to climb higher” which he authored. Other recent publications by Wes include “Do  sensors make cents”, “Blockchain: Changing interaction in the F&A supply chain” and “Australian 2018/19 winter crop production outlook: Running on empty”. He also hosts a monthly podcast, called “Tech Talk”. 


5:00pm | Close of Formal Proceedings, Commence Sundowner & Entertainment


7:00am | Registration, Breakfast


8:00am | Welcome
8.25am | Kelly Pearce & Jane Trindall: The importance of data systems in agriculture and the integration of data across platforms
9.00am | Simon Cook: Future farming – Understanding On Farm Experimentation
9:25am | Boyd Brown: How to get your farm connected to the internet, do you need it or not? Satellite, fibre to the node, mobile, 5g and more
9:45am | So you have connection to the farm, now what? What else do you need, when, how and who.
10:00am | Question Time Panel
10:20am | Morning Tea
Conference attendees are invited to enjoy complimentary morning tea and refreshments.



Now you know what is available... who's providing it? What do they do? What can they offer?


On-farm connectivity | Origo, Powertec, Goanna Ag, Axis Tech, SimplyFarm


To-farm connectivity | Pivotel, Telstra


Other AgTech | Agworld, Agriwebb, PCT AG Services, WoolQ, Farmbot


12:50pm | Close of Formal Proceedings, Commence Demonstrations
TECHSPO delegates will now have the opportunity to view a number of live demonstrations and see, touch and experience the technology first hand. 


Join our world class researchers in the plenary tent while they share their ground breaking research and results.


Head down to the demonstration area to see the latest AgTech machinery in action.


Using our advisors and your TECHSPO handbook, plan out your AgTech needs and discuss the solutions available.


See, touch, feel, play with. The AgTech toybox will show you a live variety of whats out there.
3:00pm | Close of Conference