Solving on-farm problems with ag tech at LLS event

Hundreds of Central West farmers and ag industry professionals caught up on current and future agricultural technologies at the Big Tech Big Ideas field day and conference.

Held in Trangie and Dubbo the two-day event presented everything from walk-over-weighing of livestock to remote water monitoring, satellite pasture mapping, precision spraying, soil moisture monitoring and linking various data systems together.

Big Ideas Conference keynote speaker Meat and Livestock Australia’s Digital Agriculture Program Project Manager John McGuren gave an overview of digital technologies investigated through MLA’s digital demonstration farms and advised producers to think about what problem they are trying to solve.

“What do you need the technology to do?” Mr McGuren said.

“Is it going to reduce labour, is it going to make your operation more efficient, is it being able to remotely monitor your pastures, livestock or water?” he said.

“It’s important to consider the return you should expect from the investment in technology.

“This includes looking at what it currently costs you to do the tasks you want to apply technology to versus the costs and benefits.”

“Remote water monitoring, satellite-enabled pasture management tools and connected weather stations are reasonably straightforward economically and have practical applications right now.

“If you’re interested in some of the more emerging technology consider the problem you are trying to solve and whether it can potentially link into other data on your farm and can you create value in sharing information between systems such as livestock and pasture or infrastructure and water points.

“It has to improve your work by making it more productive, safer, more enjoyable and providing piece of mind.”

David Quinlan runs Angus cattle and merinos between Tooraweenah and Mendooran and attended the field day and conference and said he had learnt a lot from the event.

“There are lots of solutions here,” Mr Quinlan said.

“I was interested in technology around water, technology around getting better information on animal weights and gains and how drone technology was developing,” he said.

“I was pleased to be able to get information on pasture maps and now we’re thinking more about how we implement this technology to improve performance on farm.”

Central West Local Land Services Ag Team Leader Neroli Brennan oversaw the events and said she was pleased with how they ran.

“There were some fantastic discussions that took place across the two days and it’s been a great opportunity to showcase what is available to help solve problems and improve operations on farms.

“We have enjoyed being able to showcase some of the local talent operating in the ag tech space as well and are looking forward to holding some smaller events across the region to help producers understand how technology could assist in their operations.”

This event is supported by Central West Local Land Services through funding from the Australian Government.

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