What is digital agriculture?
Digital agriculture is the use of digital technology to integrate agricultural production from the paddock to the consumer. These technologies can provide the agricultural industry with tools and information to make more informed decisions and improve productivity.
Trends driving digital technology in agriculture
Victoria’s farmers contribute one third of Australia’s food and fibre exports. Demand for Victorian-produced food is set to grow as the world’s population increases from seven billion to almost 10 billion over the next 30 years.
A growing global middle class, particularly among our neighbours in Asia, is further bolstering the prospects for food and fibre export growth.
While demand is set to grow, farmers are facing the challenges of a changing climate:
- increased temperatures
- changes in rainfall patterns
- more frequent extreme weather events
- reductions in water availability.
In this environment, farmers must continue to innovate to maintain and improve productivity to meet demand.
Digital technologies have the potential to provide farmers with the information and ability to meet these challenges and seize opportunities for growth.
But it is not just about farmers. Consumers both at home and abroad are becoming more informed about the products they buy. They demand high quality and sustainably produced food and fibre and want to know more about where their products come from.
Digital technologies can enable improved traceability of agricultural products, providing peace of mind for consumers and increased value for farmers.
The Victorian Government is working to ensure that our farmers are at the forefront of agriculture’s digital revolution.
We are doing this by supporting and leading research in agriculture technologies, helping to reduce barriers to widespread technology adoption on-farm, and building digital capability in Victoria’s agriculture sector.
Digital agriculture refers to the use of agriculture technology, or AgTech, to integrate agricultural production from the paddock to the consumer.
These technologies can provide the agricultural industry with the tools and information to make more informed decisions and improve productivity.
Digital technologies also have the potential to provide farmers with the information and ability to meet challenges, such as a changing climate, and seize opportunities for growth.
[Minister for Agriculture]
Agriculture Victoria’s digital agriculture strategy is about exciting new frontiers for our $14 billion agricultural sector. Agriculture’s the least digitised sector in the Victorian economy and there’s just so much potential to use new technology to make our farms more productive, more profitable and more sustainable in the future.
The centrepiece is a $27 million commitment to support Victorian farmers to adopt digital technologies, including the $12 million On-farm Internet of Things Trial.
As Australia's premier agriculture state and home of innovation, Victoria is well placed to lead agriculture’s digital revolution.
To find out more, visit agriculture.vic.gov.au/digitalag
Authorised by Agriculture Victoria, 1 Spring Street Melbourne.
Spoken by Tyson Witham.
Victoria's Digital Agriculture Strategy was released on 11 October 2018 and outlines the Victorian Government’s plan to support Victorian farmers to seize the opportunities of digital technologies.
Examples of digital agriculture
Opportunities to lift productivity in the agricultural sector lie in new and emerging technologies such as:
- new packaging material
- biotechnology and digital and wireless technologies for data measurement
- weather monitoring
- animal monitoring
- geospatial monitoring
- precision application of water and chemicals.
Robotics are being introduced to the dairy, poultry and beef farming industries. Applications include:
- autonomous feeding and milking
- egg collection and sorting
- autonomous cleaning.
These technologies are helping early detection and treatment of animal health issues.
In cropping, less waste and higher yields are being generated by equipment programmed for variable seeding rates and depths based on soil property and moisture data, derived from satellite imagery.
Digital infra-red light and heat sensors combined with geographic information system technology in drones are used measure paddock crop health to inform decisions about:
- pest management
- fertiliser applications
Sensors and electronic identification
Integrated digital animal health biometric sensors and electronic identification devices enable farmers to rapidly respond to cases of animal stress or disease, helping to increase livestock production and improve livestock health.
The Digital Agriculture Investment Scheme
The Digital Agriculture Investment Scheme (the Scheme) has been developed to assist farm businesses invest in digital technology to improve productivity, resilience, and the long-term viability of their farms.
The Victorian Government is working to ensure that Victoria’s farmers are at the forefront of agriculture’s digital revolution. In November 2020, the Government launched the Agriculture Strategy to create a Victorian agriculture sector that is strong, innovative and sustainable. The Strategy outlines Victoria’s plan to grow a thriving and globally competitive sector in Victoria. To support this, $10 million is committed to the Scheme to help farmers overcome the financial barrier associated with investing in digital agriculture technologies.
The Scheme is being delivered by Rural Finance on behalf of Agriculture Victoria.