Queensland agribusiness has seen fantasy become fact—where agribusinesses adopting AgTech was once limited, now digital technologies have become standard.

Queensland is home to many AgTech enterprises, delivering innovative technology-enabled products and services that are transforming the landscape of Queensland agribusiness. Their products are usually geared towards Queensland conditions and meet our specific industry demands.

Agribusinesses are experienced in adapting and responding to the challenges of the day. Many farmers know transitioning to a digital future is a positive change presenting opportunity for growth and enhanced competitiveness.

Hear from farmers using AgTech

Hear from Queensland farmers on how fit-for-purpose technology has enabled them to manage on-farm issues or explore opportunities to increase efficiencies and productivity.

Oyster farmers adopt AgTech to drive efficiencies

AgTech can be used in the air, on land and as Queensland Oyster Growers Association has found – in the water too.

Wade and Sandy McFadgen have adopted AgTech to drive efficiencies and make life easier for their business, Moreton Bay Rock Oysters.

A water temperature and weather dashboard system is helping them to better manage when to harvest and check the quality of oysters.

This is 1 of 9 industry projects funded through round 1 of our Agribusiness Digital Solutions Grant Program.

Transcript

I've been farming for 22 years, we have 45 hectares of water lease area, I have about

18 000 bags, about 3 million oysters.

With the new monitoring situation, we have we've got sensors put out in the water which

gives us temperature and salinity and this is helping us to understand what's happening

out there.

So the system is surprisingly quite simple so they have what's called a gateway that's

powered through our internet service here then we have a weather station that's connected

to that as well via Bluetooth and then we have the sensor that's out in the water which

spins back the messages to the gateway which is then put into the system and put on our

dashboard so it's a great time saver.

It's been good to integrate the technology into the business I do like to I do check

it every morning.

Previously to having the sensors and the data that we have now a farming day for us would

be going out there and we'd have to check the oysters so physically opening them checking

the condition.

We never had a way of sort of measuring the salinity so now having that it's so good that

you know I can sit in the kitchen or in the processing room check the data whether you

know sometimes I might look because it's high tide or low tide because water temperature

and salinity will change.

So it's been extremely interesting and will benefit us well.

From my perspective the benefits of technology enormous that we can set up now remote sensors

to measure for us water quality data that we can see live on our mobile phones.

Now we can get continuous information our sensors are reading 24-7, 365 days a year.

The ability to have that much data at our fingertips is hugely beneficial for our farming

business.

We've got the capacity now where limitation is the limitation on our own ingenuity not

on the science that's needed to actually take the measurements and uh and send them back

to us.

When it comes down to tech i would put it back to because I’m old enough is we never

used to have mobile phones now you can't live without them because you've got all the information

in your hand.

With the information we're getting using technology we're able to better farm and better predict

the quality of product we're taking to the market.

Macadamia Society integrate weather data to enhance productivity

The Australian Macadamia Society is harnessing the power of AgTech using weather stations, sensors and soil moisture probes across growing regions in Queensland.

This tech provides real-time localised microclimate monitoring of atmosphere in orchards and digital data to enhance the productivity with macadamia production.

It was 1 of 9 industry projects supported by our Agribusiness Digital Solutions Grant Program.

Transcript

Family-ran beef cattle farm digitizes work health and safety

Work Health and Safety (WHS) procedures and processes often come with a lot of paperwork – especially on the farm.

Central Highlands Regional Resources Use Planning Cooperative (CHRRUP) has created a solution to help farmers digitize WHS paperwork.

The SafeStation App makes workplace safety simple and practical for those working on the land.

Hear from beef farmer Kerryn Piggott who has adopted the AgTech to help create efficiencies and save time on her farm at Rolleston.

Transcript

Cottoning on to AgTech to make big chemical savings

Cotton has a reputation as a thirsty crop, but Queensland cotton growers are leaders in water-use efficiencies, in part thanks to locally developed AgTech. Goondiwindi grower Tom Arnott has used moisture and weather monitoring equipment from GoannaAg to help him boost efficiency, reduce water use and increase productivity

Transcript

Cottoning on to AgTech to make big chemical savings

Tom Arnott, Fairfield Farming Co, Ltd Goondiwindi.

Certainly I would advise all farmers that the future of Ag tech is going to be crucial for everyone, and if you're not using it certainly start looking as it, because it will be a big part of our future.

My name is Tom Arnott, we're predominantly an irrigated cotton farm, and we grow winter crops in a rotation and we've been farming here for 27 years.

As an irrigated cotton grower over the years we've faced a lot of pressure on our water resource, so we've been driving to get more efficent with our water use, to better manage our water and better manage our crops, for higher yields.

When I first started here we we're using the Neutron probe moisture sensors, they were pretty old technology, been round since the 80's, so we we're always on the front foot, looking for faster, better technology.

Goanna Ag came along in the early 2000's and started with this technology and we started using it then.

Tom Dowling, Chief Operations Officer Goanna Ag, Goondiwindi

We developed Goanna to supply, initially weather data, real time weather data and soil moisture data to our clients.

So Tom's got most of our products on his property.

So with the connectivity and sensors on Tom's farm, Goanna Ag's able to present that in a simple app, So Tom, at any one time, anywhere around his farm, is able to pull up his information in real time, on his phone or his iPad, or his desktop computer.

Tom Arnott, Fairfield Farming Co, Ltd Goondiwindi.

So the channel sensors we find really handy, instead of having to physically drive down the paddock, every two, three, four hours, during the night.

You can just wake up at midnight, check it on your iPad, and go "Oh, its right", no worries, and back to bed.

So that has certainly streamlined our labor. Twenty years ago I used to ring  mymate at Mungindi and go "How's the weather look out there this arvo mate?".

Where as now, you just look on the radar and say "Storm's coming, I'll hold off on that irrigation".

So it certainly enabling us to make a lot better informed decisions.

Tom Dowling, Chief Operations Officer Goanna Ag, Goondiwindi

Their water use efficiency has improved over 50%.

The return on investment is high, I think the future is very bright.

Tom Arnott, Fairfield Farming Co, Ltd Goondiwindi.

With how quickly the technology is moving, with what we've seen come in the last five years,

I'm pretty excited about what's coming in the next five to ten.

Big Data helping a Queensland cotton farmer’s chemical spray regime

Sitting in a tractor for hours on end is part of a farmer’s job. Dryland cropper and grazier Luke Arbuckle explains how software and big data from Goondiwindi agripreneurs InFarm have customised his tractor’s GPS to benefit his enterprise by targeting his chemical use, he’s achieved a 97.4 per cent reduction through a customised precision spraying regime.

Transcript

The benefits of

using these technologies

aren't just in the short term.

It's quite remarkable the gains

I've been able to make

in the short term,

and the effects that will have

over the long run.

I'm Luke Arbuckle

and I'm a farmer 100km west

of Goondiwindi.

Having beef cattle

and dry land cropping.

A number of years ago

i bought a new spray rig

keeping up with technology

and increasing efficiency.

One of the technologies it had

was individual nozzle control.

It made me realise that

the ability here to target weeds

where they are,

and I started asking questions

from manufacturers,

and that led me to

Infarm and Jerome.

so as soon as i was aware

of who he was

I sought him out be be able to

solve this technology issue

we have.

So what we've developed is a

system that allows farmers to

target these fallow weeds.

Which means that it's

more cost effective

and its also better

for the environment,

because we're reducing the

amount of chemical,

and in fact we've saved famers

up to 97.5% of their

chemical bill,

just by simply targeting

exactly where the weeds are.

The way the drone to tractor

solution works is pretty simple,

what we do is we fly the paddock

using a drone,

from there we upload

those images into our

processing platform,

where we apply our A.I.

or "artifical intelligence",

from there we product a

tractor ready file,

that can be intergrted with your

standard variable rate tractor.

This is the tractor that every

farmer has on their farm,

and we do that via a USB.

From there the farmer simply

goes and sprays their paddock

like normal.

We'll literally control the

nozzles or the sections,

to literally target exactly

where the weeds are.

Initially when i started

working with Infarm,

it was about saving chemical,

and after doing the initial

flights and analysis

of my paddocks,

with the data he collected

There were just so many

more benefits.

The direction of farming,

the errosion issues

that showed up.

He's been able to provide a file

that's built a line that

the tractor will automatically

follow for the GPS,

in terms of building

the contour.

The future of AI is very bright.

We've been developing tools

to put the power of

big data analytics

and artificial intelligence

in the hands of the farmers.

and the next leap

in innovation,

will come from the farmers,

and we cant wait to see

what the future

or farming is,

because they are some of the

best in the world,

and have continued to lead

the world in terms of

agricultural innovation,

and QLD has a rich history

of being leader in this field.

I remember the story that my

Grandad went to Ag college

to learn to plow with an

eight horse plow,

because that was the best

technology of the day,

and he retired with

GPS steering on his tractor.

I've started my career with

GPS steering on the tractor,

and the innovations im starting

to see in terms of A.I.

big data and the management of

individual parts of my paddock,

I can't wait to see where

this innovation continues to go,

and the benefits its going

to continue to bring.

Robots the perfect packaging partner

New technology is being used to help deliver avocados to the plate. Watch how Ravensbourne’s Sunnyspot Packhouse is using robotics as the perfect packing partner for their produce using the latest technology from Brisbane’s LYRO robotics.

Transcript

Smashed avo on toast & not trolley: Robots are the perfect packaging partner

Dr Juxi Leitner

We're inspired by new technologies all the time in our business, whether it be in the packing shed or on the farm.

For this reason, we see a lot of applications where robots can improve the quality of life, or farmers, growers but also consumers.

Daryl Boardman, Director of Sunnyspot Packhouse

Hi I'm Daryl Boardman director of Sunnyspot packhouse.

We predominantly grow avocados and pack and market avocados.

Staff's one of our biggest issues, whether it be in our packing shed or on our farms.

DAF came to us with this start-up company called "Lyro" that had this robot that could put fruit out of the machine into a box.

We saw that as a great thing to look at, because staffing overall, because people get sick this might be one way of alleviating some of those issues we have.

Dr Juxi Leitner

Today we're here at Sunnyspot we have deployed a robot packing avocados out of the line directly into a cardboard box.

Our robot does this by combining computer vision, with machine learning and robotic grasping.

It sees an avocado coming down the line, it makes a decision of how to grasp the fruit, without destroying, picking it up and placing it perfectly into the cardboard box.

Even though today we're packing avocados, the technology behind is not limited to a specific produce, or specific item.

It can pack avocados today or mangoes tomorrow.

Daryl Boardman, Director of Sunnyspot Packhouse

I think from the Avocado industry point of view we're a very progressive industry and a lot of this new robotics technology in times of disruption such as natural disasters, sickness within the business, pandemics and the like, the machine can continue working for us, and keep our business running.

Dr Juxi Leitner

The future for robotics and A.I. is bright.

Specifically in agriculture where there is a lot of dirty, dull and dangerous jobs, which we usually refer to as the three D's in robotics.

We're just at the start of our robotics deployments.

We're looking forward to deploying lots more of our robotic systems to help people out with tasks that require hand eye coordination on a daily basis.

Daryl Boardman, Director of Sunnyspot Packhouse

Look, I think for other growers and people to embrace technology you've go to keep an open mind with all of this stuff, some is going to work well and some isn't going to work, and I don't think you ever want to get locked into one or the other, but if you don't let them explore the opportunities in your business, you'll never know what may or may not.

The AgTech advantage in mango farming

The Martin family have been growing Queensland’s sweet, succulent summer fruit in the Bowen heartland since 1990. For 30 years they have been industry innovators, planting their first orchards in high density row. Now they’ve developed an app to track every piece of fruit from root stock to retail. Listen to how AgTech has been integrated into their business processes to track and trace fruit and business orders.

Transcript

The AgTech advantage: Mango producer transforms from tree to truck

Ag tech, in my opinion is one of the most important things in our future.

Ben Martin

There's so much out there that's readily available, you can go buy it off the shelf, but we're not seeing that in Australia yet.

I'm Ash-lei and this is Ben Martin, and along with Berndette and Gary Martin we are "Marto's Mangoes" in Bowen, North Queensland.

Ben Martin

Currently we have around 20,000 trees now, spread across three farms.

So it's grown from quite a small business back in 1990, to what is it today and it's still growing.

We saw that there was a need to innovate for some of the practices we were doing currently on farm.

So we searched around to try and find a software program that suited our business and the way we operate, and we couldn't really find anything.

So we made the decision to build an app.

It's evolved over the number of years that we've had it.

Ash-lei Martin

So it allows us to track every tray that's put through the farm from the moment it's packed, all the way from here to the consumer, through the supply chain with photos.

Ben Martin

I suppose one of the best things is, stock inventory and distribution centre management.

I can get a phone call  at three o'clock in the morning from an exporter chasing another 540, class 1, size 10 mangoes  and I don’t have to hop in the car and come down to the shed and look through the cold room, I can open the iPhone up while I'm talking to him, laying in bed, and say "Yes, pallet number 576, 578 and 572, they're free, I can assign them to you.”

He'll email the purchase order through, that'll get uploaded into the app, and then I assign those pallets to that purchase order and then that sets in motion the freight bookings and everything like that down the track.

So it just saves so much time and it also gives us the ability to make quick decisions.

So, throughout any day of our harvesting season we can sit down, we know exactly what our true cost of production is, what the quality of fruit that we're getting off  that orchard is, whether the yield is up or down, and that's really important to be able to make those informed decisions and making those decisions off data that we captured in our "Farm Management App" that we developed, it's really transformed into a critical part of our business now.

So we're looking at what we can do for our children now as well. So if we can adopt this innovative technology and give us a benefit to our business, well it's going to benefit our children, and hopefully their children as well.

Disclaimer

The Queensland Government does not endorse or warrant the suitability of any AgTech product or service featured in these videos. Whether a particular product or service is suitable or fit for purpose will depend on your unique circumstances, for example, your location, the type and size of your farm and concerns. It is strongly recommended that you undertake your own inquiries as to the suitability of any AgTech products or services for your individual needs.

Last updated: 25 Nov 2022