AgriFutures Australia have released two new reports that revealed critical insights for government, industry and Rural Research and Development Corporations in the areas of regulation and community perceptions.
The need to consider changes to help safeguard industry use of new technologies and point out the opportunity cost of getting it wrong were a major focus of the reports.
Titled Emerging technologies in agriculture: Consumer perceptions around emerging agtech undertaken and AgThentic and Emerging technologies in agriculture: Regulatory and other challenges, AgriFutures Australia managing director John Harvey said the reports offered clear actions to help industry and government understand what needed to be done to support agtech adoption on-farms.
Mr Harvey insisted Australian agriculture needs to stay ahead of the curve, understanding the potential regulatory impact of technologies, and possible negative perceptions that might prevent technology use.
“With the sector likely to increase its reliance on new technologies over the short to medium term, it’s important not to become complacent by assuming we will always have free and easy access to new technologies,” he said.
“If we don’t address these actions, the sector may be locked out of emerging technologies or be unable to capitalise on opportunities that our international competitors have access to. The reports are instrumental in identifying what the challenges and impediments are and provide practical solutions in areas that will have the greatest impact.”
The report used robotics as an example that could help reduce operating costs for producers.
It revealed for a farm investing in $100,000 a year on insecticides, herbicides, and fertilisers, the report claimed that robots could reduce these costs by up to 40 per cent because of the robots ability to spread chemicals in precise locations and in optimum volumes.
The Emerging technologies in agriculture report showed the value-add was clear but it revealed farmers needed guidance to help demystify common concerns accompanying the use of robotics, such as insurance, ethics, standards and data ownership and protection.
AgriFutures Australia business development manager Jennifer Medway said the reports promoted the need for industry, government and agribusiness to proactively engage with consumers to identify possible concerns early to overcome adoption bottlenecks.
“We take the role of helping to prepare industry for what is coming seriously, and keeping our finger on the pulse to proactively address issues as they arise is key to this,” she said.
The reports were funded by the AgriFutures National Rural Issues Program, which forms part of the AgriFutures Australia National Challenges and Opportunities arena.