DAY ONE - WAGIN RECREATION CENTRE
PROFESSOR DAVID LAMB
McClymont Distinguished Professor (Research) of the University of New England Chief Scientist, Food Agility CRC Ltd.
DIGITAL AGRICULTURE – BOOM, BUBBLES OR BS? HOW IS IT SHAPING UP SO FAR?
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.
VIRTUAL SALE YARDS AND OTHER IMPLICATIONS FOR AUGMENTED REALITY IN FARMING
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.
DR DAVID BEATTY
Program Manager – Value Chain Research, Development and Adoption, Meat & Livestock Australia
AGTECH – WHY BOTHER? LIVESTOCK TECHNOLOGIES IN GENERAL INCLUDING WHAT MLA IS INVESTING IN AND WHY
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.
SMALL MACHINES, BIG TECHNOLOGY: THE IMPACT OF ROBOTICS IN AGRICULTURE AND WHAT’S NEXT
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.
2.05pm | Breakout 1: Future Crops and Systems
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.
2.05pm | Breakout 2: Livestock Value Add and Processing
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.
2.05pm | Breakout 3: Transformational Farming
3.30pm | Breakout 4: Digital Ag - IoT and World of Sensors
Kieran Coupe from Wildeye
Mike Kirke from Rural Data Management Services
Michael Atkins from Farmbot
Kenny Sabir from AgriWebb
3.30pm | Breakout 5: Health and Wellness - Value add in livestock
3.30pm | Breakout 6: Machines, Drones and More
Agricultural Analyst, RaboResearch Food and Agribusiness
TIME TO GET STRATEGIC ABOUT AGTECH ADOPTION
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”.
DAY TWO - KATANNING RESEARCH FACILITY
Farm data is the ‘new gold’ and Kelly will discuss what you as a producer can do to begin capturing value and facilitate real-time business decisions with your data. As a researcher and farmer, Kelly has observed a huge shift in the advancement of data processing, integration, storage, and real-time analytics as well as machine learning and artificial intelligence development but is seeing minimal utilisation of these technologies within the agriculture industry. Kelly is driven to ensure that WA family farming businesses can tap into these advancements which are needed to push productivity and efficiency gains on our farms to new levels.
Kelly will also share her findings into a recent study on data integration and real-time business intelligence systems which has involved meeting with numerous local and international agricultural data organisations and AgTech providers. As an outcome of this study, Kelly and a (growing) group of other WA producers have established a new grower group called the Digital Ag Collective (DAC). The DAC is focused on finding innovative ways of organising and integrating farm data and derive from it valuable business intelligence and analytics. Kelly will discuss how the group are strongly driven to use their collective knowledge base, experience and networks in partnership with technology providers to develop and support data integration and business intelligence services ‘by farmers for farmers’.
Speaker 2- Jane Trindall
The Australian RDC’s have been working together to support digital innovation in the Australian agricultural sector. Digital innovation in agriculture could lift the GVP of the Australian agricultural sector by $20.3 billion, a 25 percent increase on 2014-15 levels according to a recent project: Accelerating precision agriculture to decision agriculture (P2D). P2D was funded through the Australian government’s Rural R&D for Profit program and historically this was the first time all of Australia’s Rural Research & Development Corporations (RDC’s) joined forces on a sector wide initiative.
The project made thirteen recommendations for the sector to invest in for Australian producers to achieve the productivity gains possible from digital technology. RDC’s are getting on with the job of implementing these recommendations and have invested in key projects initially focusing on digital strategy, digital literacy and data governance. Jane will give an overview of the findings to date covering lessons learnt, best practice advice and what to look out for in the future.
For a farming enterprise to benefit from digital innovations there are many elements to think about including – strategy & culture, technology & connectivity, governance, data & analytics and skills & training. Recently Jane and collaborators updated a Chapter: Adopting Digital Agriculture for the Australian Cotton Production Manual and using this perspective Jane’s talk will provide some useful tips and traps for farmers and the service sector adopting or preparing to adopt digital technologies.
Understanding the business case and how to choose, implement and effectively use connectivity solutions will be critical to all Australian farms in the future, and each situation will present a range of considerations for various network options. Join Kari-Lee and Hamish as they outline the costs and benefits of the various options for farm connectivity, from satellite, fibre to the node, mobile, 5g and more.
The issue of ‘decision paralysis’ may mean you miss the opportunity to have an input into your network of choice. Early adoption is possible as an individual or as a group. This ‘Think Tank Group/network’ approach to early adoption has some benefits, namely in that it allows you to de-risk and potentially allows for easier exploration of suitable options for your area for years to come.
There is no doubt that technology is already improving the way we produce, from the basic finance management applications through to farm management technologies, including monitoring livestock movements, trading, reporting, forward planning and feeding programs. New technologies allow producers to track their livestock and improve the lifetime traceability. As Australian agriculture properties cover vast acres of land, the basic checks, stock monitoring, and everyday upkeep of these properties are both time consuming and costly. But as the industry transforms, new technologies are allowing farmers to access their data, control field machinery and monitor the health and wellbeing of their livestock from the palm of their hand.
Based in Goondiwindi, Goanna Ag have been providing remote monitoring solutions for over 17 years; deploying thousands of devices including weather stations, moisture probes and water and fuel infrastructure. They also own the most comprehensive private weather station network across NSW and Queensland and are currently expanding into WA and VIC with 17 new weather Stations across the wheat belt of WA.
Sound complicated? It doesn’t have to be! Wes Lawrence from AxisTech will be unpacking some of the alternate solutions to connectivity and detail how this may work for your property. The solutions that Wes will be outlining are geared towards helping farmers make better informed decisions, improve efficiencies and productivity, create cost savings and maximise profitability.
myInsight.io is an IoT-based, feature-rich, open-source platform that can be used across multiple devices. Built to monitor the crop field with the help of sensors (light, humidity, temperature, soil moisture, etc.), from anywhere, anytime, the application helps farmers to enhance productivity, reduce waste, grow food cleanly and meet the ever-increasing demand for food.
It is imperative that farmers ensure their internet connectivity is central to both farm infrastructure and farm employees, and that they have access to the information and tools necessary to run their farm efficiently. The optimal solution is an autonomous network that stretches out beyond the inside of the house to the areas where farmers need it: Sheds, Yards, Workshops, Feed-lots and even to the Paddocks if required. Join Annie Brox as she discusses how to maximise your available options.
Rachel will also be delving into Agworld’s platform which allows users to collect data at every level of their operation. It enables this data to be easily shared with anyone that requires access, such as farm hands, agronomists, accountants and land owners. Their platform allows for better communication between all stakeholders, inherently leading to a more efficiently run business.
Their 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.
In this talk, Michael Wells from PCT will be deep-diving into the adoption and application of precision technologies to overcome issues in agricultural, horticultural and viticultural industries and how the implementation of these technologies can directly improve the efficiency and profitability of soil for farmers.