AgTech News Dashboard: July 2020

We discover how emerging tech is helping fight the war against weeds. The South Australian Government puts out a call to agtech suppliers to showcase at a demo farm. A survey shows low take up of agtech and we look at some interesting tech for poultry producers. And this week, Food Agility CRC launched Mission Food for Life and asks agtech businesses to join in on the mission!

Agtech on the frontline in the war against weeds

Integrated weed management in the era of emerging agtech and new digital technologies means that farmers and producers will soon have many more tools at their disposal, beyond herbicide rotations and strategic tillage.

The Centre for Invasive Species Solutions estimates the cost of weeds to Australian agriculture to be around $5 billion annually. This is made up of chemical control costs in broadacre cropping, and production losses in the grains, horticulture and livestock industries. In addition, herbicide resistance, resulting in declining efficacy across a number of key chemical groups, threatens longer-term agricultural productivity.

Read the full article.

$10M Mission to Keep Food on our Plates in a Crisis and Beyond

This week the Food Agility CRC launched Mission Food for Life, a $10 million initiative to create new data-driven solutions that help the agrifood industry to rebound quickly, reinvent business models and build resilience.

The CRC is calling for agrifood and tech businesses to join its mission to build data-driven resilience in food supply chains and help keep food on our tables in a crisis and beyond.

Read the full article.

Demo farm calling for AgTech suppliers

The South Australian government is calling on all suppliers of agtech to put forward their products and apply to be showcased at the Loxton AgTech demonstration farm.

The state’s second AgTech demonstration farm at Loxton was launched last month, with four initial technologies from D3Ag, MEA, Tevatronic and CropX on hand to help show producers in the region the productivity benefits from taking up innovative technology.

Primary Industries Minister Tim Whetstone said the horticulturally focused research farm was now seeking more technologies to be showcased at Loxton.

“We are opening the call for technology providers to express their interest in being involved in the AgTech demonstration farm at Loxton, to encourage greater adoption by primary producers,” he said.

“If you have a commercially-available technology that you think has application across SA's horticulture, viticulture, and agriculture industries, we want to work with you to showcase those benefits to our farmers.”

Expressions of Interest for technology are now open and will be accepted on an ongoing basis. To apply, visit Primary Industries and Regions SA.

First published as Demo farm calling for AgTech suppliers, Stock Journal, 22 July 2020

AgTech survey shows gaps ahead of 'revolution'

More than half of the state's primary producers in South Australia are not investing in on-farm technology, while one in five have no plans to in the future, according to a survey conducted by the AgTech Advisory Group.

The survey received more than 600 responses from producers, advisors, researchers and suppliers.

The three main categories for barriers to investment were:
•    the value proposition is often unclear
•    difficulty understanding the usefulness of new technologies
•    difficulty deploying the tech

First published as Agtech survey shows gaps ahead of revolution, Stock Journal, 20 July 2020

Digital technologies for poultry producers

Current growth in poultry production means that by 2022, chicken meat will be the number one meat consumed globally, exceeding pork. Egg consumption also continues to grow.

A number of agtech solutions are being developed – or are now commercially available – that address key areas of concern to poultry producers.

These include technologies such as 3D printing, robots, drones, sensors, artificial intelligence, augmented reality, virtual reality training and blockchain. With all of these connected through the internet of things (IoT).

What would make for better poultry production?

  • From a production standpoint, individual real-time body weights, feed and water consumption.

  • From a husbandry and welfare perspective, knowing the stress levels in the bird and bird comfort assessed through body temperatures and air quality factors, such as carbon dioxide and ammonia.

  • From a disease management outlook, the ability to spot disease or find morbid birds before the entire flock is affected.

  • From a food safety perspective, enhanced Salmonella, Campylobacter and E. coli detection.

  • From a food processing perspective, increased yield.

First published as Flocking to digital: the future of poultry technologies, The Poultry Site, 11 April 2018