In the news

The Institute’s knowledge of agtech and farm data featured in two recent articles. The first article ‘Technology and data revolution challenges the role of farm advisers’, by Neil Lyon in Grain Central (27 September 2017), quotes Mick Keogh, AFI’s Executive Director:

The agricultural sector in Australia was experiencing major changes as a consequence of global forces that were disrupting many established business models, including the farm advisory sector.
We are facing a situation where ‘disruption’ is going to rapidly occur in agriculture, driven by the digital and data revolution. That is the future that is in front of us.
Different models have emerged and evolved and I think it is unclear at the moment who will emerge as the ‘captain’. Who is going to be the ‘captain’ of some of these systems as they evolve in agriculture...
Don’t ignore this. If the industry doesn’t engage and start thinking about some of these issues we may well end up captive on a ‘railway’ that has a predetermined destination.

The second article ‘The Agtech: What the umbrella term really means’, by Alex Sampson in The Weekly Times (10 August 2017), discusses the obstacle to Australian uptake of agtech presented by difficulties for those in remote regions connecting to the internet.

The Australian Farm Institute, a body increasingly wading through the agtech pool, says it’s about ‘connecting things that have been around for some time’...
‘It’s about things like yield monitors, spray monitors – that we already have – and using the data they produce more efficiently and for a wider range of purposes,’ says AFI General Manager Research Richard Heath.
Heath says the principle behind digital agriculture, ‘which is combining data for more insight’, has been used by innovative farmers for some time, but it has been complex, difficult, and farmers had to have a lot of aptitude in data collection.
‘What is going to happen now is that those mass market products and solutions are going to take it beyond that 1% into more of the technology that everyone can engage with really quickly and adopt,’ Heath says.


Recently the Institute’s Executive Director, Mick Keogh, has spoken at:

  • Growing SA 2017 Conference, Hahndorf, South Australia
  • Marcus Oldham College Strategic Management Workshop, Sydney
  • Murray Dairy Business Forum, Shepparton, Victoria
  • Syngenta Growth Awards judging panellist.

Richard Heath, the Institute’s General Manager Research, has spoken at:

  • Grower Group Alliance 2017 National Grower Group Summit, Perth
  • The University of Sydney ‘Growing the Business of Agriculture’ Symposium, Sydney.

Image:  USDA