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Accelerating access to new agricultural technologies


Grain prices haven’t increased that much,
but input costs have hugely increased. Some years you have reasonable grain prices
and other years it’s not that fantastic. You’ve actually got to watch what you are
doing, you’ve got to watch everything that you’re spending, you’ve got be right on
the ball with what you spend and what you do with farming at the moment. The last, probably three or four years have
been really good, but this last summer crop we’ve just had has been an absolute disaster
for us – high temperatures and no rain – we’ve had a really bad year but anyway there is
always this winter crop. You can’t complain can you – it could
be worse. Australian Agriculture operates in an unprotected
market, which means by nature Australian farmers are more innovative and have a thirst for
new technologies well before their counterparts worldwide. Our long-term vision at USQ is to get establish
Australian agriculture as an incubator for new technologies. Therefore Australian farmers will get access
to technologies before the US and Europe … and not the other way round. Take for example this tractor, in autonomous
mode it becomes more precise and more accurate, than say how it can be operated manually at
the moment. This means it allows more freedom for the
farmer to do more important things on the farm to improve productivity and ultimately
profitability on the farm. Modern day tractors and sprayers have on board
technology which can operate at a level of sophistication far greater than what they
are currently used for. Take for example a John Deere tractor which
has 10 million lines of code compared to a space shuttle which has only 2 million lines
of code. If some of these capabilities were enabled
we could automatically control farming inputs with a far greater level of precision. Essentially works and looks like a regular
tractor, could be transformed to work with no one at the controls. USQ Research has been working with precision
ag technology for some time now and we’re partnering with companies, such as John Deere
to provide Australian farmers with first user access to cutting-edge technology. I think it’s a really good feature to put
on a tractor. You can watch the machine behind and you know
it’s going to be doing what you want. All he has got to do is sit there and make
sure everything is happening. The positive interaction we have as researchers
with farmers realises that vision of seeing this technology being adopted in the field. So technology such as driverless and automated
tractors are a common feature on the farm of the future.

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