WHAT WILL 'TECHNOLOGICAL AGE' MEAN FOR AGRICULTURE?
I refer to the article 'Who has digital skills to drive agriculture?' (Stock Journal, December 12).
As we move into a new technological age - whatever that means - does it mean I will feel better about everything I do that makes more money?
Does it mean the farm will be taken over by robots? Or does it mean all infrastructure is old and outdated before it hits the shelves?
Has anybody told the sheep, cattle, goats and other livestock they are living in a technological age? Are they looking smarter, more aware of what we are doing as farmers?
How dumb are we; is it a case of if it's artificial and claims to be intelligent; it's not quite as smart or as human as all farmers.
FREE UP WATER TO GROW FEED
Extraordinary times require extraordinary measures, this is what confronts vast areas of drought- and fire-ravaged regional Australia.
Now, more than ever, we demand and expect decisions that transcend political and ideological divisions.
The full extent of the physical, emotional and economic costs will take months, if not years, to become fully accountable. But there are some immediate actions that can be taken to assist those in need with regards to preservation of commercial livestock, the dairy industry and those farmers struggling to protect their future and their livestock.
The drought has depleted grain production and fodder production to dangerously-low levels. The shortage of natural pastures means that agistment and depleted fodder reserves will place further pressure upon the ability to provide cost-effective and adequate relief to those livestock and dairy producers severely affected by the recent fires.
As this is occurring, thousands of acres of efficient irrigated agricultural land lie idle while we continue to release environmental water into the Southern Ocean.
The politics of the preceding sentence are both contentious and controversial, but we are dealing with a national state of disaster across every state. This is not about the politics of the Basin Plan, this is in the national interest.
I am sure that all state governments comprehend the magnitude of the problem and wish to provide genuine leadership and deliver solutions for those in need. The scaling back of current environmental watering programs to make water available for grain and fodder production is in the best interests of all Australians, but most importantly to those in need of assistance.
There is still a "window of opportunity" available to enable irrigators to sow some late summer forage crops, water existing pasture and hay crops and pre-irrigate in the autumn for winter cereal production.
I am cognisant of many of the issues associated with making this water available but do not believe that this should be an impediment to the implementation of the proposal. There is one important matter that I would stipulate be non-negotiable to the provision of this water and that is, "use it or lose it". This water cannot be transferable, tradable or able to be carried over for future use. It is only available for immediate productive use.
The Commonwealth government is the largest owner of water in Australia and it is incumbent upon them to use that water in the national interest. At the moment, it is obvious to most Australians as to where the national interest lies. As the Commonwealth government asked the states to enable them to call up the military to assist with the bushfire relief process, it is equally important that the state governments ask the Commonwealth to make water available to assist the nation in the preservation and rebuilding of the national herd, flock and dairy production.
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