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  • Writer's pictureDavid James Connolly

Agtech is a $100b secret weapon in the back paddock

Australian farmers may need a large dose of resilience to thrive as fire, floods and droughts affect farming operations to the point of despair in some cases.

But a growing cohort have a secret weapon in their back paddock — agricultural technology.

Farmbot provides farmers with remote monitoring data to highlight detailed information on their water assets in real time.

Known as agtech, its predicted to become the nation’s next $100 billion industry by 2030. The sector is a growing source of income and investment, and a crucial part of the economy.

With the promise of bolstered production value, big-ticket tech like machine learning and artificial intelligence is gaining ground as startups aim to provide efficiencies to the sector, helping Australian farmers bolster output.

The big players in this space include Farmbot, which was established in 2014. It’s providing farmers with remote monitoring data to highlight detailed information on their water assets in real time, along with water trends and alerts anywhere in the world.

Farmbot raised $2.7 million in a round led by Telstra as it rolls out thousands of water monitors across the rural sector.

Other players in this space include Farmdeck, which helps farmers manage daily operations, from grazing management to livestock and inventory. Created by farmers, for farmers, the customisable tech sets out to remove headaches around managing a farm.

And companies like Mobble are helping to take the uncertainties out of farming. Mobble, which recently joined forces with Agworld, provides livestock and crop management integration for mixed farmers, all within an app.

Australian AusAgritech Association CEO Tracey Martin says the sector is starting to attract material investment and interest across state and federal governments. More than 300 companies play in this space.

Martin is helping the nation’s agtech up-and-coming operators to connect and commercialise their operations by proving their worth with farmers.

Australia is excellent at agtech and should be a natural leader in this space because farmers are adept at adopting to harsh and unforgiving clients, she says.

“If it’s Australian agritech, you can rest assured it has been tested in all terrain. We have high adoption of agritech across Australia, with the challenge ongoing as new technologies are applied every day,” she says.

The nation’s university sector is also a crucial player in this space, exploring new ways to deal with farming challenges, such as the recent mouse plague in NSW.

For example, scientists from the University of Adelaide, CSIRO and Centre for Invasive Species Solutions have been exploring genetic biocontrol technologies to stamp out future mouse plagues.

The million-dollar question, of course, is whether or not agtech can help the nation’s farmers overcome the constant barrage of challenges they face.

A quarterly report released by the Australian Department of Agriculture, Water and Environment (DAWE) puts the gross value of agricultural production to reach a record $78 billion in 2021/22.

Best regards,

David James Connolly

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