Workshop puts spotlight on using technology to its fullest in farming

NEW INNOVATIONS: Geoscience Australia's Claire Krause and Alicia Thomson putting a spotlight on new technologies for the agriculture sector at a workshop. Picture: Emma Hillier
NEW INNOVATIONS: Geoscience Australia's Claire Krause and Alicia Thomson putting a spotlight on new technologies for the agriculture sector at a workshop. Picture: Emma Hillier

A WORKSHOP in Wagga has put a spotlight on the new technology at farmers' fingertips that is often not used to its fullest potential.

Researchers, students, industry professionals and farmers heard about satellite imagery and remote monitoring to real-time data collection in the paddock.

But the real problem that comes with adopting new technology is cost, connection and complexity, says Goanna Ag founder John Pattinson who was a speaker at Tuesday's workshop.

Mr Pattinson said the challenge that faces most people within the agriculture industry is "removing the noise" to make way for technology that is actually useful.

To do that he said the most simplest method was to ask themselves two questions, does it solve a problem and does it create value.

"In the past, companies like us have been poor in explaining the investment and the value technology brings," Mr Pattinson said.

"To put it at its simplest, technology has to solve a problem and create value for a grower otherwise it is just getting in the way - doing the opposite of what it is meant to achieve. It should also be simple to installed, understand and interpret."

Geoscience Australia's Alicia Thomson attended the workshop to put a spotlight on the Digital Earth Australia program that uses satellite data to detect physical changes across the country.

"Satellite imagery is something farmers are aware of and it is growing at an exponential rate, but its the uptake that we really need to focus on at the moment," she said. "What we need from people is to become aware of the program and get their hands dirty and utilise the data because it's free and can be accessed now."

Dr Claire Krause, of Geoscience Australia, explained that the program is looking to be collaborative with people on the ground to produce exactly what is needed.

"The data itself can be really daunting. There is a lot of information, but we want that information to be accessible and interpretable. It's not just providing access to the raw data we are providing interpreted products to make it easier," she said.

"I do the technical stuff, so everyone else doesn't have to."

AgriPark chief strategy officer Matt Cahill said it was important that local researchers, students and farmers had the opportunity to hear from experts in the field of geoscience and precision agriculture and about the potential for this innovation to grow the area's primary industries.

He said a highlight was the presentation by Geoscience Australia about the Digital Earth Australia platform, which uses spatial data and images recorded by satellites to detect physical changes.