UNE ag-tech research on display at the Sydney Easter Show

Published 22 March 2018

A technology-assisted form of agriculture is being showcased in Orana Parade at the Sydney Royal Easter Show, where the University of New England (UNE) has set up its “Farm of the Future” display.

The hands-on introduction to a technology-powered agriculture allows visitors to program and test-drive a driverless tractor, or observe how new sensors and data analytics are changing crop and livestock production in ways once beyond imagining.

Or they can discover the remarkable world of pollination by putting some bees and beetles under the microscope.

On the same stand, the UNE Discovery Voyager Scientists, communicators and educators are persuading visitors to get their hands muddy learning about the science of soils, including doing their own testing and evaluating soil types.

Agriculture has encouraged technological advances for more than 10,000 years, and technology has driven farming developments across the same millennia, but that process has recently accelerated to an incredible degree.

The result is nothing less than a revolution in humanity’s relationship with the land, says David Lamb, McClymont Distinguished Professor – Research at UNE.

“When we can cheaply monitor plants and animals, and analyse the data generated using algorithms and artificial intelligence, we can minimise things that reduce production, like pests and disease, and maximise things that enhance production, like animal behaviour and application of nutrients.”

“We already have more technological capability than we have been able to absorb, and the innovations keep coming. If we implemented the full capability of digital agriculture that we have available to us now, we would increase productivity by 25 per cent and the value of Australia’s agricultural production by about $25 billion.”

UNE will also be hosting a series of seminars at the Easter Show. Visitors looking for a bit more depth to their Show experience can attend these seminars for free.

Farm of the Future Seminar
When: 24 & 31 March 6pm

Smart Farms are the key to our agricultural survival; technology will monitor everything from when to apply fertiliser to the health of a beehive and the movement of livestock. Technology will even advise when fruit trees need water and the back gate has been left open.
David Lamb, McClymont Distinguished Professor, Precision Agriculture Research Group, will talk you through the exciting changes and our connected farming future.

Introduction to Exports Seminar
When: 26 March 5pm

Insights into the export market, along with the practicalities and must-knows for trading with China, the world’s fastest-growing export market.
Presented by Sunny Kwon, NSW Business Chamber with Guest Speaker Peter Verry, Peloris Global Sourcing Pty Ltd.

China Market Overview Seminar
When: 27 March 5pm

The China-Australia Free Trade Agreement has increased export volumes to the fastest growing market in the world, and interest in trading with China is peaking for Australian growers and suppliers. 
Presented by Sunny Kwon, NSW Business Chamber with Guest Speaker Peter Verry, Peloris Global Sourcing Pty Ltd.

Agmentation 2018 – Solving Grassroots Ag Problems (Hackathon Style)
When: 28 March 5pm

A discussion about how to take the germ of an idea all the way through to a fully-fledged pitch for funding. The UNE SMART Region Incubator works with s

tartups to take their ideas to the next level. Discover how you might do the same with guidance from this panel.