Grain growers in the southern cropping region can look forward to better access to advisers and off-farm resources as communications technology makes its way onto more farms in coming years.
University of New England professor Dr David Lamb said that, with only 20 per cent of Australian farmers taking advantage of advanced broadacre management like precision agriculture, there was plenty of room for the cropping sector to tap into opportunities for real-time improvements on-farm through broadband-enabled smart services.
“With high speed internet connection, the options include video conferencing which means farmers can talk to their business advisers, their agronomist and their machinery resellers in a face-to-face way, live, just like you would have an ordinary conversation,” Dr Lamb said at a Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) grains research Update.
“You can now connect the farmer to their machinery re-seller or to their mechanic. If there is a problem with the machine they can put their head under the bonnet with a little camera on.
“Even out in the crop, if you have a crop issue you’d like help in diagnosing, your cereal plant pathologist could be with you looking over your shoulder virtually while you’re out in the paddock.”
Dr Lamb envisions that farmers could use the technology to make more informed cropping decisions based on data.
“Using the technology generating data, including yield data from a harvester monitor, or nutrient maps or soil moisture maps, the services sector can collect that data and information and put it together to provide meaningful advice for growers.
“Once the data is collected the service provider can be interacting with the farmer direct, but remotely through high speed internet such as through video link and live data exchange,” Dr Lamb said.
“Now you can have virtual consultants assisting them through every step of the way from installation, troubleshooting diagnoses and of course the most important step which is collecting and collating the data that is generated and then interpreting it and providing advice on it.”
To see a video interview with Dr Lamb, visit www.youtube.com/theGRDC or play the video below:
Dr David Lamb
02 6773 3565
Tristan Price, Porter Novelli
03 9289 9555
Caption: The University of New England’s Dr David Lamb says smart services sector holds a huge amount of untapped potential for Australian grain growers.