ACOLA report highlights agricultural potential of IoT
The Australian Council of Learned Academies (ACOLA) has released a report: the Future of Agricultural Technologies. Its recognition of the potential of IoT puts similar Australian Government efforts to shame.
IoT rates a mention on 16 of the report’s 116 pages, with statements such as:
“The deployment of advanced technologies, such as robotics, coupled with artificial intelligence (AI) and IoT, has the potential to generate vast amounts of data that will be transformational for farming practices, complex decision making and environmental monitoring.”
“Data, AI and IoT, if properly harnessed, will underpin many future farming capabilities, including asset automation and optimisation, supply chain optimisation, rapid testing of localised crops, and robotics.”
“The IoT can facilitate use of real ‐time information to enable more timely and efficient use of inputs including water and crop treatments. Sensors and IoT deployed along the supply and value chains will improve logistics, product traceability and food safety.”
The Australian Government has had two goes at examining the use of technology in agriculture, and a third is underway.
Multiple government agriculture studies
Back in July 2015 the government released a white paper on the competitiveness of Australian agriculture . The paper was largely a bragging exercise detailing the government’s, claimed “$4 billion investment in our farmers and our competitive strengths in agriculture.” At the time I took issue with the fact it made only passing mention of IoT.
The following month the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Agriculture and Industry kicked off an enquiry into agricultural innovation. The Committee tabled its report Smart farming – inquiry into agricultural innovation on 4 May 2016. It contained only one reference to IoT.
Government initiative number three is still underway. It is an Inquiry into growing Australian agriculture to $100 billion by 2030 , launched in September 2019 and being undertaken by the Standing Committee On Agriculture And Water Resources.
Submissions were due to close in November 2019 but are still being accepted. Launch of the inquiry prompted me to ask “Will the government realise the agricultural potential of IoT?”
The latest enquiry has received, as at 30 September 2020, 110 submissions . Hopefully some of these will alert the committee to the potential of IoT in agriculture and its eventual report will pay due regard to this.
If not they might like to examine these examples from the ACOLA report.
“[A project] funded under the National Landcare Program’s Smart Farming Partnerships … aims at enabling real time monitoring of herd location and health, the optimisation of management operations and multi ‐scale planning. These activities will contribute to improved environmental management, biosecurity, and...