Farmers aren’t stereotypically known for their ability to adopt and embrace new technologies. Which is often unfortunate because business and farming practice in agriculture is constantly changing and evolving, as it always has done. This is one of the several things I’ve found that IT & Agriculture have in common: The need to constantly improve and stay informed of industry trends and, dare I say it, ‘best practice’. To this end I’ve been fortunate enough to attend 2 industry development events since our busy time of seeding has finished.
The first one, (that I tweeted about) was a two day conference in Adelaide focusing on ‘precision agriculture’. The conference was hosted by a group called the Southern Precision Agriculture Association (SPAA). SPAA’s website states that:
SPAA is a non-profit and independent membership based group formed in 2002 to promote the development and adoption of precision agriculture (PA) technologies.
Our mission is to facilitate research, extension and the adoption of precision agriculture.
The idea behind ‘Precision Agriculture’ is that with the arrival of new technologies like GPS guidance, satellite imagery, and remote sensing, farmers can allow for and farm according to the natural variations within paddocks. This has numerous potential applications, but it means that farmers can do things like decrease fertilizer application in areas of a paddock that continually under-perform. Wikipedia contains a more in-depth intro to precision agriculture.
The second event I attended was put on by a non-profit farm research organisation called the Birchip Cropping Group. ‘ It was a one day event called the ‘Grains Research Expo‘ and featured all manner of agriculture related seminars and exhibitors. Some of the things I was able to do on the day included:
- Meet a professional weather forecaster.
- Hear about industry experts in grains marketing.
- Learn about the potential of gene technology to produce more drought tolerant types of wheat.
- Hear about the issues faced by other farmers where multiple generations are working together on the family farm.
These industry events are great for hearing about new things and networking with other farmers. As a new guy in the industry I’ve been able to learn a lot from them an hope to be able to attend more in the future!