Agriculture Industry in Australia to Use Drones, Sensors
Digital technology will soon be more prominent in Australia’s agriculture industry with a new partnership that aims to improve sustainable farming.
Ruralco and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation formed a joint venture that will seek data-driven options, including the use of drones and long-range sensors.
The partnership will further strengthen an estimated AUD 1.5 billion of annual investments in farming research and development, including enhanced agricultural track systems and machinery. Both parties will focus on several key elements of the partnership.
These include the use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles in detecting livestock from long distances and managing fertilisers from the Great Barrier Reef and other conservation areas. It will also aim to automate and streamline water and livestock management among other operations by developing long-range sensors.
Ruralco CEO Travis Dillon said that using data-driven solutions can help farmers more easily solve productivity and sustainability issues, which consist of effective nutrient delivery and plant growth among others.
The partnership comes at a good time amid lower wheat harvest forecasts from the National Australia Bank (NAB). Crop yields between 2017-2018 are expected to reach 22.7 million tonnes, down by 600,000 tonnes from the original estimate. NAB trimmed its prediction despite heavier rainfall in early August.
The downgraded forecast follows the International Grains Council’s estimate, which was reduced by 2.0 million tonnes to 22.8 million tonnes. It cited less rainfall in July as the main basis for lowering its forecast. Also, Lanworth also reduced its projected wheat harvest between 17.1 million and 26.1 million tonnes. The lower forecast was due to the dry weather in most of Australia’s crop regions since April, according to Lanworth.
Technological advancements in agriculture are important as challenges become complex. Farmers will particularly benefit from the partnership, especially since the sector has grown significantly in previous years.