Australia funds new smart agriculture technology

Published 17 January 2014, 12:10 AEST

The Australian government allocated more than one million Australian dollars to fund farmers who tried new technologies. This is to reduce farmers’ expenditures and protect the environment.

This innovation fund from Land Care is a total of 114 million Australian dollars and will be used to demonstrate variable technology. The so-called variable technology (VRT) mainly uses satellite positioning systems (GPS) to help farmers better determine where to fertilize and where to use chemicals.

Variable technology will input crop yields and soil data into maps, and farmers can use these maps to develop management strategies for each paddock. Its purpose is to reduce the use of chemicals to reduce cost input. In this way, farmers can focus on certain characteristics of their crops.

The pilot funding for this grant is located in Bundaberg, Bowen, Atherton Heights and Gatton areas in Queensland. Federal MP Keith Pitt of the Hinkler constituency announced the news in Bundaberg this week and explained how the project works.

Peter Hawking, executive president of the Bundaberg Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association, said the project will benefit farmers who have already started using sophisticated technology. He said that many growers have adopted variable technology, including GPS-controlled tractors, but he said that these farmers have not really understood the full potential of this technology and how to adapt to it.