The adoption of precision agriculture technology by SA farmers has continued to increase since its inception more than 20 years ago, but there are still barriers slowing down the uptake, according to speakers at the Society of Precision Agriculture Australia symposium this week.
SPAA president Jess Koch said the organisation’s aim was to help producers find profitable reasons to introduce precision tools on-farm.
“On a nationwide level, the adoption of precision agriculture is pretty low and although it has made leaps and bounds in the grains industry, we still need to help livestock producers see the benefits,” she said.
“SA’s primary producers are quite progressive but the information SPAA has collected in past seasons revealed the biggest barrier for livestock producers to introduce precision technology was expense.
“Electronic ear tags are reducing in price and making it a viable option but the expense is still there, as well as not having many livestock consultants specialising in it to help guide producers.”
PIRSA’s Andrew Harding, Clare, spoke about precision soil pH mapping and said there had been increased interest from SA farmers about the technology.
“Once more cost-effective solutions are available to farmers there is no doubt we will see more uptake in all industry sectors,” he said.
University of Sydney Precision Agriculture Laboratory researcher Brett Whelan said industry needed to make better use of existing and off-farm data sources, accurate weather predictions and explore the opportunities for sharing information from local operations within the same industry.
“As options for gathering and storing data mature, we will need a strong commitment from the agricultural community,” Professor Whelan said.