Today we announced details of a new strategic partnership with Australia’s peak farm body the National Farmers Federation (NFF), to help unlock digital opportunities for Australian farmers, support thought leadership and build advocacy on behalf of regional Australia.

Together with the NFF, we see an amazing opportunity to grow Australia’s agricultural industry from $60 billion per year to a $100 billion per year industry by 2030 – and we believe technology and innovation has a key role to play in achieving this goal.

Our CEO Andy Penn announcing our partnership with the NFF at the 2018 Royal Easter Show.

From IoT to 5G, to our involvement in the Federal Government’s Mobile Black Spot Program and our extensive regional mobile network investment, we’ve been busy laying the foundations for a brilliant connected world that supports our Australian way of life.

Below, Sami Makelainen from our Chief Technology Office shares his view for how technology and innovation can help tackle challenges faced by Australian farmers, drive productivity and create efficiencies in the short term:

  1. Even at the simplest end of the scale, IoT is making a major impression with water tank sensors for water level monitoring and leak detection enabling farmers to save significant quantities of water – a precious resource in Australia.
  2. Through ingestible sensors, farmers will be able to monitor and track livestock health and fertility across a range of breeds in real time.
  3. Sensors embedded in soil will soon be able to track moisture and soil health, making it easier for farmers to efficiently distribute water and fertilisers. At the other end for the logistics chain, sensors that can detect the ripeness of food will be integrated into packaging and storage units, optimising the delivery chain for freshness and reduced wastage.
  4. Farm-wide dashboards will provide an integrated view of livestock and crop health, enable precision planting and other cropping activities as well as tracking and forecasting business health and productivity.
  5. The use of drones will become more widespread and will be able to help diagnose crop related diseases, livestock mustering and measure water and nitrogen levels through hyperspectral sensors.

Sami Makelainen is one of 35 contributors to the National Farmers Federation’s Talking 2030 discussion paper, which looks at the long-term policies, ideas, technologies and innovation required to power Australia’s agricultural sector towards our shared 2030 ambitions.