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August 29, 2017

Agtech: Turning theory into practice

Agtech is already reshaping the way we measure and manage a huge number of key ag variables from soil condition and livestock movements to yield mapping, water salinity and temperature measures, fertiliser quality and stock inventory.

But recent data suggests there’s still a long road to full adoption and optimisation of agri technology. A study by Rabobank uncovered that a mere 23% of farmers are using sensor technology, for instance, and of those less than 70% are using the data to support decisions.

So it seems the answer is that, in fact, we’re not there yet.

How can we help everyday farmers adopt tech and use data more effectively? And how do we deliver benefit for the broader industry?

Here are a few things TMA is thinking about as an organisation committed to the future of the sector:

  • Maintaining the push for improved connectivity in our regions. It’s impossible to reap the benefits of real-time data acquisition if it’s not received in, well, real-time.
  • Supporting manufacturers and dealers to support farmers. At the manufacturer end it’s about compatible platforms so various data sources can automatically align. At the dealer end, it’s about staff who understand data and can give customers good practical advice about what to do and how to do it.
  • Working with industry to address privacy and sharing issues. Where big data can really support agriculture is not through insights on individual farms (though they have value too). The big changes will come through collated data across regions and commodity sectors. If we want to be able to collect and use this data it has to be easy, safe and not compromise any users’ privacy or competitiveness.

What do you see as the big challenges around agtech adoption? Where do manufacturers, dealers and industry associations like TMA fit in in overcoming them? I’d love to hear your thoughts.