When you look at where the world was just a century ago, which is the blink of an eye for our blue planet, in 1923, we thought we would suffocate if we travelled at 40 mph! The internal combustion engine had already arrived and we discovered that information could be sent along copper wire (that was a massive step). Then came the digital era; we’re not quite sure who it was that figured out zeros and ones could be used to send and receive data, which occurred around 1950, and that signalled the start of a computing revolution.
Here are a few ways that cutting-edge tech is helping Australian farmers.
- Drones – These amazing flying machines come in all shapes and sizes; for the farmer, drones are a godsend; no more driving for hours to inspect perimeter fencing, not when you can send out a drone equipped with a hi-res cam and when you see something untoward, you can hover and zoom in. A 50-mile section of livestock pasture can be inspected in a couple of hours using a drone. The next generation of crop sprayers can be seen flying up and down rows of vegetables, saving farmers both time and money. Lost a couple of cows? Send up the reconnaissance drone and you’ll soon locate them and we wonder how long before drones take over the cowboy’s role!
- Hydroponics – The growing of produce without soil is a game-changer and many small farms in the fertile Hunter Valley are using hydro solutions in special greenhouses to grow organic veg which they market to the general public via their website. The commercial shed of today is high tech too, with state-of-the-art insulation and ventilation and they are durable and made from composite material that is maintenance-free.
- Solar energy – It isn’t just our homes that can benefit from the clean and renewable energy the sun provides. The Australian government offers attractive financial packages for farmers that start using solar energy and if you run a smallholding, crunch the numbers and you’ll be surprised at how quickly you get a return on your investment. Science is moving ahead at light speed, which makes it an exciting time to be alive.
- Automation – So many tasks can now be automated; the mixture of nutrients that are fed into the hydroponic water system is automated; If you visit a hydroponic farm, you will see a small laptop with a solar panel acting like a roof, which controls all levels; all the farmer has to do is make sure the tanks are full and the computer does the rest.
- E-tractors – They are being developed and a few prototypes are already being tested in the fields; all types of farming vehicles will eventually be electric and that will likely happen within the next decade.
The above are just some of the changes that agriculture is enjoying and where is all this leading you may ask? We hope it leads to a world without pollution.