Fruit, vegetable, nut, nursery and turf growers around the country who would like to see a technology demonstrated on-farm are being encouraged to reach out to the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF).
Being delivered through Hort Innovation in partnership with the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, as part of the $9M Gatton Smart Farm project, this initiative will bring growers and Ag Tech providers together to explore and even further develop technologies that are proving successful in Australia or overseas.
Hort Innovation Head of Extension Jane Wightman said trialling new technologies can be risky for growers, and the grower-owned Research and Development Corporation’s investment in this initiative aims to mitigate that.
“It can be difficult to navigate the digital agricultural marketplace and to know where to invest,” she said. “This Expression of Interest opportunity through the Gatton Smart Farm will help growers to ‘de-risk’ Ag Tech, by enabling them to select and experience the technologies firsthand and to better understand the costs and benefits of adoption.”
Ms Wightman said the technologies showcased through the Gatton Smart Farm will help growers better manage production issues, and improve supply chain efficiency and customer satisfaction, while keeping up with projected growth in the industry.
“Horticulture is the fastest-growing agricultural sector in Australia – with a 27 per cent hike in value over the past five years to $15.1 billion, and our modelling shows that figure could double by 2030,” she said.
“This is a national project, and we encourage growers from all States and Territories to register an interest if you have an issue you believe technology can help solve.”
DAF Director of Vegetables, Systems and Supply Chains and Gatton Smart Farm project leader, Ian Layden, said the Expression of Interest process will bring together the users and providers of ag technologies to benefit Australia’s horticulture industries.
“Expressions of Interest are open to growers, supply chain businesses and Ag Tech providers who are keen to progress with developing and adopting ag-technologies,” he said.
“Interest is also being sought from Ag Tech providers who are looking to demonstrate their products on a research site or in a commercial horticulture farm or supply chain business.
“Through the Expression of Interest process we hope to work with AgTech providers, growers and supply chain businesses from across Australia to drive the adoption of a wide range of technologies,” he said.
Participation in field day events, partnering with local AgTech providers where possible to explore technologies, and technical support through a comprehensive extension program are also aspects of the project.
Key areas of focus for the Gatton Smart Farm initiative include but are not limited to:
- Field cropping including robotics
- Protected cropping
- Post-harvest and supply chain
- Whole of farm and food supply system integration
All Expressions of Interest must be aligned to a current industry issue and Hort Innovation industry investment priorities, which have been developed with the nation’s 37 levy-paying industries.
To register an Expression of Interest, go to the Department’s Smart Farms website.
The Gatton Smart Farm is being delivered through Hort Innovation’s Hort Frontiers strategic partnership initiative. Supporting partners include Cravo, Priva, Rijk Zwaan, Lefroy Valley Seeds, Powerplants, AIS Greenworks, Hitachi Vantara, and various grower groups.