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Opportunities to lift productivity in the agricultural sector lie in new and emerging technologies such as robotics, new packaging material, biotechnology and digital and wireless technologies for data measurement, weather monitoring, animal monitoring, geospatial monitoring, and precision application of water and chemicals.
Building the capabilities to respond to these new and emerging technologies and investing in research and development will contribute to innovation and improve productivity.
This will also require an effective system which leverages the contributions of government, industry and research institutions with a clear pathway to implementation on-farm and by businesses.
Accelerating smart agriculture requires the development of AgTech companies and capabilities across the state. Supporting entrepreneurs, through skills development and innovation pathways, and attracting domestic and foreign investment into start ups, will drive the development of technologies that Victoria can use and sell to the world.
The Internet of Things trials
The Internet of things is the next frontier to enhancing agricultural productivity, sustainability and profitability. Internet-connected devices are used on farms to monitor variables like soil moisture to help farmers make more informed farming decisions.
Mobile and internet connectivity in the agricultural sectors can provide farmers with valuable information on weather conditions, disease control and new methods of maximising crop yield, and enable livestock tracking.
The Victorian Government is running four 'Internet of Things' trials in key agricultural areas, covering Victoria's major agriculture sectors of dairy, broad-acre cropping, meat production and horticulture. The trials will investigate issues from the network level all the way through to end-user devices and machinery on-farm.
The knowledge gained through the trials will drive the Victorian Government's longer-term response to the opportunity of digital agriculture.
Agriculture Victoria has conducted a series of workshops, focus groups, interviews and research to determine requirements for the trial. Each region will have an IoT network established for industry and community use. Farms selected for device deployment and decision support software provision will be based on the specific agriculture industry being trialled in the region.