Why grain producers can’t afford to miss out on evokeAG. 2023 - evokeAG.

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Why grain producers can’t afford to miss out on evokeAG. 2023

Grain production is a global game with those embracing efficiencies and technologies having the edge. Not only is now the time to catch up to the rest of the world when it comes to AgTech, it’s an opportunity for Australian grain growers to move markedly ahead.

5 min 30 second read
Wheat crop Harvesting wheat in South Australia. Photo supplied by Grain Producers SA

The world of agriculture is evolving and it’s moving fast. Australian farmers, particularly grain growers, operate in a global marketplace where they are constantly looking to be more productive, more efficient and more profitable. But because there’s so much technology already available and so much more on the way, how do you know where to start? I’d suggest there’s no better place to get ahead of the game than at evokeAG. 2023 – right here in our backyard on 21-22 February at the Adelaide Convention Centre.

For our 4,500 grain producers in South Australia, it’s an incredible opportunity to network with the whole supply chain. Literally from paddock to plate, with the best entrepreneurs, innovators and farmers all in one place. After all, it only takes one connection or conversation to change the way you do things on-farm for the better.

AgTech. It’s not just a buzz word to farmers.

The process to adopt technology on-farm can be daunting. The options are endless and where to start can be the biggest hurdle. But farmers are natural innovators. Each generation adopts new farm technologies with one primary goal; to remain competitive in a global marketplace. evokeAG.  presents valuable pathways to bridge the gap between AgTech providers and farmers.

For many producers, the word AgTech conjures visions of a time years ahead where robots and autonomous tractors run across paddocks, and the shed is no longer full of tools but screens and equipment with a price tag that seems out of reach. In reality, AgTech is as modest and affordable as the app on your phone you use to sell grain, or the auto-steer in your tractor.

Brad Perry with SA Mallee grain producer Ian McNeil

Brad Perry with SA Mallee grain producer Ian McNeil

Maximising technology for greatest reward

The recent wet right across Australia has thrown a few more challenges farmers’ way – less common weeds, pests and diseases have arisen in the moist conditions and require careful management. And given the high price of inputs, it’s crucial to maximise effort for maximum output. That’s where technology comes into force. This season we’ve seen satellite mapping, spray sensors, minute cameras and even artificial intelligence play a role in ensuring efficiency of inputs. Many grain producers have opted to invest in technology that identifies areas – down to the individual weed – to target instead of spraying an entire paddock. And instead of applying fertiliser across the whole paddock at the same rate, with satellites and some clever technology, it’s possible to identify areas for improvement and to vary the rate as required for the paddock or plant needs.

There’s examples of technology and agriculture collaborations happening across the nation. Right now grain producers across South Australia are the first in the country to trial a new tool to measure on-farm greenhouse emissions. Sustainability is not just something farmers need to do to tick a box, it is critical to international market access. In fact, FLINTpro is running this pilot project with Grain Producers SA and you’ll be able to hear them speak right here at evokeAG.

Some have called it a ‘New Data Wave’ but the ability for farmers to have real-time data at their fingertips to make business decisions is at the core of AgTech. In South Australia, barley growers are participating in a project where traceability technology is able to follow their barley from paddock to the bottle of a Coopers’ beer. The consumer, or customer, will be able to scan the QR code on the beer bottle and it will tell them where the malt barley for their beverage has come from, right down to the precise location. As our markets seek more data, we need to find ways to provide it. Australian agriculture knows we produce a superior product but through technology at on-farm level and across the supply chain, we can prove it.

grain growers silos

GPSA CEO Brad Perry, Kangaroo Flat grain producer Josh Krieg and Trust Provenance CEO Andrew Grant at Josh’s farm.

RELATED: South Australian paddock-to-beverage traceability project takes off

It would also be remiss of me not to mention how technology is changing the way farmers communicate. Without connectivity farmers can’t use technology and more importantly they can’t communicate and they can’t do business. Given many of our producers operate in remote areas where a simple phone call can often be difficult, technology start-ups such as Zetifi, who will be at evokeAG., are becoming even more important.

For many farmers, the adoption of AgTech is a win-win. It is a saving in time and cost, and a step towards removing the element of human error in production. At a time when labour is hard to source, this technology may not just be a game-changer for that grain business, it could have life-long impact.

Bringing innovation

I was fortunate enough to travel to Israel a few years ago, where they are actively solving problems on farms that are extremely relevant to us not just in South Australia, but right across the country. The way Israeli farmers work with AgTech start-ups to solve real on-farm problems is a testament to why they are global leaders in this space. There are extraordinary opportunities to collaborate and empower farmers here and across the globe, with opportunities to learn and innovate. And while I appreciate a trip to Israel isn’t on the cards for most, evokeAG.  will bring some of this innovation, changemakers and thought leaders to our doorstep.

Brad Perry, CEO GPSA with the South Australian delegation to Israel

Brad Perry, CEO GPSA with the South Australian delegation to Israel

No other event in Australian agriculture offers this level of access to AgTech thought leaders and change makers. Over two days at evokeAG., 1,500 delegates from across the supply chain will hear from more than 125 thought leaders and change markets from eight countries. They will contribute to discussions about innovation in our food and farming systems, and importantly the opportunities for Australian farmers. And don’t forget about the 40 startups and scaleups from across the globe in Startup Alley. They might just have a solution for the problems you’re facing in your daily operations.

There’s a huge opportunity to take advantage of AgTech. We can’t afford to sit still – technology is changing and it’s changing at a rapid pace. Australian agriculture needs not only catch up with the world but be leaders in this space. We want and need to be at the forefront of the AgTech revolution.

Want a thriving future for food and farm? AgTech needs to become an integral part of daily operations, it’s as simple as that. So, grab your ticket at evokeag.com/events and I’ll see you there!

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