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Australian agriculture is heading towards an exciting future as farmers opt for new technologies.
Mattthew Cawood, The Land, provides a summary of the Soil, Big Data and Future of Agriculture Conference.
Agriculture will be transformed over the coming decade as 21st century digital technology becomes embedded into every aspect of production and farm enterprise management. This transition is already well underway in the United States and in Australia, across all aspects of agriculture and livestock production.
In the US there is a high level of industry engagement in topics such as big data analytics in agriculture and the Internet of Agricultural Things (IoAT). There are a range of drivers, including government investment in research, a vibrant and growing agri-tech investment sector, and recognition by agribusiness suppliers of the potential to open up new service markets in the farm sector. The same level of industry and policy engagement in these topics is growing in Australia.
This massive trend will directly affect the ability of nations to achieve soil security. These technologies in combination with soil informatics will enable agronomy and farm management that optimises soil function, enabling sustainable intensification of agricultural production and soil security. Industrial agricultural nations like Australia and the US seek to increase the production of food and fibre to meet the needs of a growing world middle class while also maintaining clean and green production values. Australia leads the world in soil data and informatics research and capability and has much to offer in bringing this vision to reality.
To raise awareness of these trends and encourage public debate on the issues facing farmers, the United States Studies Centre, with the support of DOW and the NSW Department of Primary Industries, held the inagural Soil, Big Data and the Future of Agriculture conference on 25 June, 2015 in Canberra, at the Realm Hotel.